• Aarron Spinley

Personalization is dead. Long live Personalization.

Updated: Jan 21, 2020



This recent release from Gartner -- as the analyst firm promoted their latest offering to the marketing profession, "Predicts 2020: Marketers, They're Just Not That Into You" -- certainly turned heads in December.

And that's what it was supposed to do. It is classic "provocative appeals" theory, where the principal (in this case Gartner) seeks to draw attention through taking a position which could be anti-establishment, or even extreme.

Humor is always a useful ingredient as well, such as Burger King's quite brilliant mobile billboard in the UK.

But I digress.

Gartner's headline did the trick. Nowadays, we call it "clickbait." And it got me. I read it. You probably did too. And whilst you can likely tell from my headline that I don't entirely buy it, I am grateful as it has spurred on this overdue piece from me.

The central premise of all my work is the pursuit of "growth." Whether that be through all the traditional means like sales revenue, share, loyalty/retention, or market cap etc; or growth of the organisation itself (often to the same ends but not exclusively) through purpose, culture, carrier principles, and leadership. As a result, I advocate the art and science of creating experiences, such that they evoke target behaviors. I study business, tech, society, and culture. In that sense, I am probably a quintessential evangelist of the experience economy. That being my professional background, here's my proposition:

Gartner forgot about the terrain.

There is no point sending troops into the jungle in typhoon season issued with desert fatigues and equipped with bandannas to avoid breathing in dust, and special covers to stop sand from jamming their weapons. None of that will help. Their first enemies will be wet socks and flies and malaria. They'll never make it to the fight.

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