Q&A with Martin Roulund Jakobsen, Head of Market Management, Ecommerce, EMEA for The Radisson Hotel Group
We sat down with Martin Roulund Jakobsen, Head of Market Management, Ecommerce, EMEA for The Radisson Hotel Group to find out more about how personalisation is evolving. Here’s what he had to say…
How do you think having a single view can give retailers the competitive edge?
Martin: Having a single view will reduce the time you spend analysing data, and will consequently reduce your time to market. Speed is vital, because consumers navigate between brands very quickly these days, and retailers need to be agile to accommodate.
What do you think it means to have a truly personalised marketing strategy?
Martin: Having a flexible campaign architecture is essential. Brands need a dynamic approach in terms of their touchpoints. True personalisation isn’t just sending different messages to different segments. It's making sure that the whole customer journey is tailored to that customer. As customers navigate further into the funnel, communications should target customers based on where they are in the funnel and how they got there.
Why do you think predictive analytics are so effective?
Martin: The more predictive we can be, the more we can tailor communications to create a personal relationship with each customer. Once we have the aggregated data, we can pull out insights on that data such as average basket value, or customer life cycle. The predictive element can be used on an individual customer, but it can also be applied to forecasting trends for next month based on the historical data.
If you have the right skillsets in the organisation, you will also be able to push products out more quickly, and get them in front of the right person at the right time. You can build much more targeted strategies for driving the business if you can back them up with data.
How do you think retailers should approach the challenge of choosing an automation solution?
Martin: I think it's very important to look at what you can do with what you have, so that you can figure out understand specifically what you want to achieve and how to get there. If you try to do too much at once, you’re going to fail. But if you are much more specific in your aims, you can start moving small pieces of the puzzle into the automated world. That way you start to build our knowledge from the bottom up.
I think one of the skillsets of marketing will need to focus on more is coding. For instance, I understand how to build a simple script that can then be applied to ad-words. Already, we have done a small thing with a potentially high impact. It didn’t require any massive investments, because we’re utilising what we already have.
How do you think the role of the marketer is going to change as AI starts to underpin most of the processes that go on within that department?
Martin: 15 years ago there were a very limited number of ways to approach a marketing campaign. Now we have multiple channels to work with. I think that there's going to be a natural development and evolution of the marketer role alongside the technology that supports these channels.
A lot of media is pushing the narrative that AI is making the human obsolete, but I don't think that’s possible. Manually mapping every data point to detect threats and opportunities is incredibly time consuming. Having day-to-day manual processes automated and running in the background is going to shift our focus to creative and strategic pursuits. Part of that will be figuring out how we can utilise AI and machine learning even more.
How can a retailer know if it's worth fronting the cost for an AI solution?
Martin: Businesses need to make sure they aren’t investing in AI for the sake of it. There are some processes that can and should be automated. Once you have clear objectives, you need to balance the cost of the solution with its value to make sure it’s propelling the business forward.