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Martin Harrison, UK Managing Director, Kameleoon
11 December 2019

The capabilities brands need to thrive in a personalization-first world

Reading time
4 min
Author
Anne Claire Bellec Kameleoon
Anne-Claire Bellec
Anne-Claire Bellec is Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Kameleoon, in charge of the company's marketing strategy. She regularly shares her thoughts on digital on the blog, particularly focussing on the subjects of optimization and personalization and how they can increase online conversions.

In the Kameleoon blog we’re running a series of interviews with optimization, personalization and experimentation leaders from across Europe. As well as André Morys of konversionsKRAFT and Michael Witzenleiter of Kameleoon Germany, we’ve also spoken to Stephen Pavlovich of Conversion.com in the UK. Sticking with the British market, this week we talked to Martin Harrison, the new Managing Director for Kameleoon in the country. Martin brings over 10 years experience in digital marketing to the role, and is looking forward to targeting the growing opportunity for personalization that he sees in the UK, as he explains below.

1 You’ve been involved in the UK digital market for some time - how do you see it changing?

In the past digital was about transactions, which meant looking for scale. Brands needed technology platforms that were built on a strong backend to process thousands or even millions of interactions in a short space of time. Then the focus was on developing the overused adjectives of “omni” or “multi” channel, in order to deliver a joined up experience. As the market has matured this is no longer enough. Of course, platforms must be reliable and be able to process all these transactions, but brands need their technology to go further for two reasons:

  1. Consumers constantly want more. Their expectations have radically increased, and they understand that the balance of power between brand and consumer has shifted in their favor. Now, they demand a personalized experience, consistently delivered on any channel if they are to buy from a company.

  2. Greater consumer choice and wider competition means companies need to differentiate themselves if they are to stand out and win and retain customers. There is a consensus that Customer Experience (CX) is now the key battleground for brands, rather than the price of what they are selling.

To achieve real success and deliver this personal experience, brands need to embrace experimentation, optimization and personalization. Only by constantly testing and improving can they hope to keep pace with customer expectations and out fox the competition.

2 What does this mean for retailers and brands?

This transformation means that businesses need to change their focus. Of course, their digital platforms must continue to deliver in terms of efficiency and scalability, but they have to focus more on their customers and their requirements if they are to compete.

They must adopt a customer centric mindset if they want to increase conversions, revenues and loyalty. This needs to run through the whole business – consumers demand that brands are delivering on their needs and that the whole process of engaging with a company is smooth, seamless and puts them first.

This brings new challenges to brands. It is not just a technology problem – they need to ask themselves if their teams are set up with the relevant skills to analyze, plan and react to this shift to customer centricity?

3 How do brands change to achieve this?

In my recent career I’ve seen first hand the struggles that brands have gone through – and how some have achieved success. In my experience, becoming customer centric requires development of four main capabilities:

  1. Firstly, brands need to change their mindset. Too many businesses, particularly larger ones, can be frightened by the disruption that change brings. They need to overcome this and to look at experimentation, agility and flexibility as opportunities, rather than threats. This might be uncomfortable at the start, but is a cultural process that needs to happen. This change needs to come from the top - CX needs to be discussed and supported within the boardroom, in order to support a culture of experimentation.

  2. They must deploy the right skills, and give people the time to embrace experimentation and personalization in their roles. Skills can be either internal, external or a combination of both. What I’ve seen work really well is partnering with experimentation agencies to help train the internal team and gain quick results. This helps to demonstrate the value that change brings to the business and kick-starts the move to customer centricity.

  3. They should introduce, adapt, or develop their processes to encourage agility and drive change based on data. This means no more decisions made solely on hunches or following lengthy reviews. Processes must quickly arm teams with the relevant data that makes informed decision making fast, simple and straightforward.

  4. They need the right technology to support what they do. As I’ve said, technology has to move beyond the transactional and support a customer centric organization, enabling effective CRO, A/B Testing, segmentation and predictive personalization. In terms of approach, there needs to be the right mix between automation and human skills in order to drive optimal benefits.

4 Are tech providers delivering what their clients need in order to change?

Overall, they aren’t. To succeed brands require guidance from those that can show proven skills and have a track record with experimentation such as agencies and technology providers.

However, many tech companies don’t have sufficient understanding of their clients’ businesses and how they can help them drive value in their markets. This is because most clients are engaged by sales-led tech businesses, who only see generic opportunities to deliver value. Often, they are motivated to sell what they have, rather than going the extra mile to sell what the client actually needs.

This leads to a mismatch of expectations with clients - they don’t feel they get what they require to drive change and real results. Ultimately this causes a breakdown of trust and projects failing to deliver against expectations or even being cancelled. Everyone loses!

5 Why do you believe Kameleoon is different?

What first attracted me to Kameleoon was the fact that the entire company is built on trust and openness. It has extremely strong technology, all developed in-house, but is focused on how this tech specifically helps its enterprise clients. By looking at specific use cases that deliver value, it has grown rapidly across Europe, with an impressive client list.

For example, it has built a platform that is designed specifically for enterprises and their needs, while also being user-friendly. Unlike many other companies that use AI, it is open and transparent about its algorithms, and is focused on ensuring that digital marketers know exactly what is going on and remain in control of their activities.

Adding to this it takes the time to understand what clients are looking for, through a strong customer success team and relationships with key agency partners. These bring their own experience and skills, amplifying the benefits of Kameleoon’s platform. All these factors mark it out as different to its rivals in the market.

6 Finally, how do you plan to move Kameleoon forward?

This is a very exciting time in the UK market. As I’ve said we’re now in a customer centric world. Brands realize this and are therefore starting their journeys towards an experimentation led culture, looking for workable solutions their businesses can utilize.

What they need most of all is support – and Kameleoon has everything in place to help them as they move forward. Aside from its technology strengths, it is already a leader in two of the largest markets in Europe (France and Germany), and is now ready to really target the UK and Northern Europe.

On my side, I bring over a decade of experience working in the digital and ecommerce sectors, both for agencies and tech providers. This helps me to better understand client needs and how we can help them deliver value, quickly. The UK is the largest digital market in Europe, meaning the opportunities are potentially enormous. I’m very much looking forward to the challenge!

 

Anne Claire Bellec Kameleoon
Anne-Claire Bellec
Anne-Claire Bellec is Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Kameleoon, in charge of the company's marketing strategy. She regularly shares her thoughts on digital on the blog, particularly focussing on the subjects of optimization and personalization and how they can increase online conversions.