Google’s UK sales chief: it is criminal for brands to avoid personalisation

Marketers are still not ready to fully put their faith into mobile, even at the most basic level, and “criminally” failing to personalise the experience, according to Google’s sales director Martijn Bertisen, who was speaking at today’s annual IAB Mobile Engage event.

Citing Google data, Bertisen said that 60% of consumers crave personalisation on mobile platform yet are still being faced with outdated experiences.

He explained: “We’re still not ready to put our faith into mobile as marketers and it’s very rare to see mobile spend eclipsing traditional despite the fact that 3.4 million people are now buying a new smartphone every single day.

“I would disagree that as marketers we are even ready for the mobile phone at a basic level as very few of you [from retailers onwards] could get out your iPhone and show me that the website for your company is better than the experience I get on desktop.”

Claiming that mobile searches have now overtaken desktop searches in 10 of Google’s most advanced markets, Bertisen added: “With the rise of smartphones and wearables, I think it is criminal not to speak to each consumer in a personalised voice.”

Recent research conducted by One Poll and Fizz suggested wearables, such as the Apple Watch, still have their work cut out in attracting buyers, with 37% of consumers still believing they have no need for a wearable product and 15% perceiving wearables as a fad.

However, Bertisen claimed that the rise of wearables is already starting to make the smartphone experience feel “clunky.”

He added: “I think with the Apple Watch consumers are enjoying the convenience of not having to take their phone out of their pocket.

Connected devices, such as wearables, allow for more seamless integration, whereas smartphones are still a relatively clunky experience when used in a social context.”

Referencing a potential Apple Watch app by Flora, which helps users monitor cholesterol levels and tells them when to burn calories, he said the brands that succeed on smart watches will be the ones who push predictive tools and messaging.

Put people first

Echoing Bertisen’s views in a separate presentation, Marc Mathieu, Unilever’s global SVP of marketing, said brands must put the consumer first and aim to avoid disruptive messaging.

He said that consumers were becoming alienated by the “interruptive” messaging techniques of television ads as they are still, by large, only offering a one-way led conversation.

“We need to make concepts that the consumer seeks out and is encouraged to interact with,” said Mathieu, referencing Unilever’s recent Dove ‘Choose Beautiful’ campaign, which has generated over 100 million views thanks to its social media interaction techniques.

“You have to bring a unique point of view and let people feed the conversation themselves.”

Speaking of the rise of mobile technology, he also, half-jokingly, suggested that the future could involve an implant device, which feeds advertising directly into the minds of users.

He added: “People are always on, never offline. That is the next frontier. Now we have it on our wrist, I would be surprised if we don’t do it in an implant form pretty soon.”

Speaking later in the day, Rob Newman, head of EMEA at Facebook’s Creative Shop marketing platform, claimed that Instagram is now looked at as an art gallery among some consumers.

He said that one in three users perceive a brand that posts photos on the platform as “more artistic.”

“I think Instagram can be the art gallery of the future as consumers really do perceive photos posted on our service as more artistic – brands have a big opportunity to tap into that,” said Newlan.

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  • Lee Cash 8 Jul 2015 at 9:14 am

    The point that Martijn makes is extremely valid… The device we spend most of our time on now is our “smart” phone, and the fact that we can add location into the mix in a much more creative way with mobile than on desktop means that the potential for personalisation is much greater. I also suspect consumers have less patience with a customer journey if it fails on a mobile so the need to deliver an exceptional UX is greater.

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