Personalization: Word Of The Year, Gone By 2025

While the ANA was putting the finishing touches on its annual “Word of the Year,” survey consultants at Gartner were busily proofreading one of the firm’s latest reports, both were unveiled this week.

Personalization was voted “Word of the Year” by ANA members, some of whom declared the marketing approach “the holy grail” of brand marketing.

Conversely, Gartner basically declared personalization all but dead and reported that 80% of marketers that have invested in the approach will abandon it by 2025. Lack of ROI and data management woes were cited among the reasons why.

In the marketing business, trends are obsessed over and bright shiny objects are often manufactured to capitalize on them. And sometimes today’s “holy grail’ ends up being tomorrow’s rusty, leaky and basically useless water bucket.

Still, some very smart people at a number of very big marketing and advertising companies have opted to bet billions that personalization is going to be around for a while.



Among them, Publicis Groupe, which earlier this year bought Epsilon, and Interpublic which last year bought Acxiom. The idea being that parsing through and making sense of oodles of purchasing and other behavioral data is key to successful personalized marketing.

If personalization goes south as fast as Gartner predicts, executives at those firms, and others, are going to have some explaining to do to investors. If it comes to that, I’m sure they’ll think of something.

I doubt that it will. Holy grail? Who knows. Important part of the mix? I don’t think there’s any question. To the extent consumers want conversations with, or pitches from, brands — which is open to debate — they want those conversations and pitches to be informed and relevant. 

I don’t know how that happens without a personalized approach.


1 comment about "Personalization: Word Of The Year, Gone By 2025".
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  1. Phil Rubin from rDialogue, December 7, 2019 at 8:42 a.m.

    It's interesting to see Gartner essentially short the marketing technology and its capabilities in suggesting that personalization efforts will be short-lived.  Perhaps it's an assessment of marketers' limited commitment to data-driven marketing?  Or that there is so much damage that's been done by advertising and mass marketing via direct channels that direct customer relationships are lost?

    Or perhaps both are not too far off?  Personaliztion should ultimately give way to relevance, and there is a difference.  Personalization has an implication that a brand can drive its message using data, whereas relevance is truly about what is meaningful to the customer.

    Pesonalization is not necessarily relevant but relevance is, by definition, personal.

    Hence the "r" in rDialogue.

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