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Interview with François Pichon: "There is a realization that simple personalization is not enough


Today we welcome François PichonHead of Marketing Western Europe at Teradata. We met him a few weeks ago for the publication of a study on the mobile uses of the largest French retailers. He talks about the challenges of using data to personalize the mobile experience.

Jonathan Loriaux In the study you recently published, we learn that 62 % of the top 50 merchants in France have a mobile application and that 29 % of these send push messages. How come only 29 % send push notifications? Is this very little or is it already quite a lot?

François Pichon : Indeed, this is the result of this study. It seems very little to us. It seems very little to us because, in our opinion, on the mobile we should follow the good practices that we have already seen on email. That is to say, we should try to use this channel, which is becoming a privileged channel because it is very effective with the mobile and with the applications to establish a close relationship with an individual, with a consumer, with a client, much more than with email for example. Why not take more advantage of this channel to send notifications? This is indeed a question. We can see, for example, that the English are doing it a bit more. They are more advanced in this field. I think that the top French e-tailers are a little behind on this subject.

The interesting thing about notifications is that they are doors that either open or don't open. Once a mobile user has decided to open the door to notifications, why not finally take advantage of this opportunity and push personalized messages to them?

JL Today, all e-merchants who have not yet implemented an abandoned cart email strategy are doing so. It's a technique that is becoming widespread, all those who have a reasonable turnover are deploying it. What is it about companies that have a mobile app today that is not getting through. Is it more a technological issue, difficulty of access? Or is it simply a question of marketing maturity that means the company is not yet at that stage in its thinking?

FP It's clearly the second option. Technically, there is no real obstacle.

JL Are they aware that there are no barriers?

FP I think they are aware that there is no obstacle, but often the applications were launched rather quickly, a little bit as a test, as a pilot, and they were left to live their lives without keeping any coherence with the other channels.

As a result, we may be forgetting some fundamentals that can completely apply to the mobile channel as well. In the end, we don't take advantage of it. The obstacle is not technical. The obstacle is a real willingness to consider mobile as a real channel.

JL What is the one thing that could unlock the situation and allow companies to exploit the full potential of the mobile channel(s)? Is there a magic recipe to inspire them?

FP There are some modest recommendations in the study. Make promotions available via mobile, create coupons and other vouchers... and above all prove that mobile is a real purchasing channel for the consumer. It is also important to use all the consumer preferences, whether declarative or behavioral, in order to propose tailored content in mobile applications and push notifications.

JL In the same vein, in the study you published, we see that there is no French mobile application that offers content personalization based on purchase history or specific behavior. In the end, we realize that it's not only mobile applications that are lacking. Whether it's on email marketing or on the classic web, these are things that exist for some, but which are still very rare. Today, at Teradata, how do your consultants try to inspire customers? What is the approach that you can push towards your customers to try to inspire them and to encourage them to be more personalized and intelligent at this level?

FP : First, we use the results of the studies we publish, our business consultants use them and use some of the best practices found among our most advanced clients, especially in the gaming and telecommunications sectors.

JL : Basically, they need proof?

FP Yes, they need evidence, they need examples. They often need examples in their field of activity. That is to say that a player in the telco sector, he necessarily wants to see concrete results, not in travel, not in tourism, but in his sector.

JL : It's not yet clear in their minds that hyper-personalization of content, across all communication channels, is the way to improve their practices. It's not yet their priority.

FP I think that there is an awareness that simple personalization is not enough, but on the contrary can have a counter effect. That is to say, if simple personalization is just "Mr., Mrs." and a few embryos of personalization, it will not produce a positive effect on sales, on loyalty, ... On the other hand, if we go further, it forces us to take into account all the data we have, the contextual elements, the implicit and explicit statements made on the web, in short, to concatenate, to agglomerate. If we assemble all the knowledge that we can have on certain customer profiles, then the approach can be interesting.

Some of our clients have taken these principles really, really far and are getting great results. But it's complicated because it means you have to go pretty far before you get an interesting ROI. Are we giving ourselves the means to go far enough? It's not necessarily easy to build it up little by little and get results. If we go far enough, if we develop the mobile channel, we must not forget the other channels. It is important to start the dialogue on one channel, continue on another, move on to a third and so on. The important thing is to be consistent in your approach, that's what really counts!

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