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Talking Personalization, Part 4: Technology

An interview with Matt Mobley, SVP, Technology

In this series, we’ve interviewed our martech experts to better understand what’s happening in personalization. Here, Matt Mobley, SVP, Technology, Merkle, shares his perspective on personalization, which is surprisingly not necessarily tech-focused. Matt’s expertise as a personalization super hero includes strategic business consulting, information management, business process management, and solution design across multiple industries.

1. What challenges do you see organizations facing with their technology strategy as it relates to delivering personalized experiences?

I think there are two main challenges. One being an absence of strategy across the  organization as a whole, since technology decisions are usually made in silos. Organizations have individual strategies for specific channels or functions, but not typically something wholistic across channels. The second (which is related to the first), is that the strategies are also highly fragmented. There might be a unified strategy for digital across web and mobile, but then a separate approach for non-digital, like the retail bank experience. This is usually a result of internal politics and organizational fragmentation. Most organizations lack a unified customer experience strategy. Someone might own CRM, another digital and another, call center. The tech decisions they make typically focus on functionality to solve a specific business need for that channel.

2. How does organizational readiness regarding technology enable organizations to deliver on personalized experiences?

Your organizational readiness and tech stack need to mature together. When looking at the maturity curve, you can’t evolve to a level five on the personalization maturity model from a technology perspective if you are at a level one for organizational readiness maturity. You may have invested a ton of money and you can’t actualize the investment until the business is ready. It also works inversely in that you can’t have organizational business strategy and readiness of five and a tech stack at one.

3. What are key questions organizations should ask vendors and partners?

Typically, organizations are not selecting one tech partner for the entire stack.  Many organizations focus on the tool and what functions the tool will solve. That is important, but the next level of questioning is: How does this tool integrate with your overall strategy.

4. What questions should organizations ask themselves about their tech stack? 

Organizations need to understand that a specific tool is one actor on the stage of their marketing eco-system. They need to also ask, “How do the tools work in concert?”.    Many become myopic in what function the tool is intended to serve, so they buy a capability. They don’t often think about the overall investment and how the tool flits into the overall strategy. There is often “shiny-object” thinking when looking at technology.  An example of that is how everyone is talking about CDPs and how a CDP could will solve all technology issues or replace other platforms completely. 

5. What trends do you see coming in personalization?

With the rise in decision management technology and its sophistication in consuming data, the impact is big around outbound communication by unifying the orchestration layer. There is still a lot of cost and complexity, but the potential for a single interface or single canvas to orchestrate personalization will be huge. This will reduce the need to integrate multiple platforms to execute personalization at scale.

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