Today marketers talk about personalization as some new Holy Grail. It’s hardly new.
Years ago, one-to-one marketing was a core practice of local shopkeepers everywhere. You know, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. The shopkeepers of yore would uniquely identify their customers, interact with them to understand their wants and desires and then customize their offering to meet those needs. The best customers got the best treatment. The notion of treating different customers differently was common and these shopkeepers enjoyed huge market share.
Fast forward many decades and the shopkeeper model has largely been displaced by national chains that lean heavily on one-size-fits-all business models steeped in efficiency over effectiveness.
Yet as the present reality of slow growth markets becomes clear, as fewer and fewer store openings present themselves, as the easy growth from launching and optimizing e-commerce starts to subside, the tide is turning.
Slowly, we are starting to see brands that understand that the majority of future growth must come from stealing market share. Growing share of wallet in meaningful ways requires a more intensely relevant and remarkable customer experience rooted in a “know me, show me you know me, show me you value me” set of capabilities.
More and more, it’s about understanding how to replicate the old-timey shopkeeper feeling at scale. It’s about using deep customer insight and technology to transcend the self-imposed limitations of the mass industrial model that characterizes so many businesses today.
The good news is that the core technology and other supporting capabilities necessary to become a shopkeeper at scale now exists–and is improving all the time. The bad news is it doesn’t happen unless you make a choice and make a commitment.