No two Facebook timelines or Netflix recommendations or Amazon homepages are the same. The “algorithm” in each case analyses your unique profile, on-line history and connections serving up a unique set of recommendations that the machine has learned best gains your attention for one more click or thumb scroll. These platforms have achieved the ultimate marketing goal of mass customisation or individualised marketing. The algorithm has come to know you better than you know yourself.

In the face of such technology some organisations have lost sight of the need for market or customer segmentation to help them design their marketing and supply chain responses. While a machine can be infinitely flexible, an organisation and its people need structure and certainty so that processes can be honed to operational consistency and efficiency.

An article from the Harvard Business Review notes the long history of market segmentation and then gives some examples of how a board based segmentation of a market can add insight for management teams to either provide new insights to inform strategic planning and decisions or to allow a bundling of service offering and supply chain approaches that allow some tailoring to different needs of the market.



Abandoned carts and site arrival

If you download the Shutterfly smartphone app, create an account, and give Shutterfly permission to access your photos, it will automatically identify photos with faces in them and place them on items that you can purchase from the app.

Target’s marketing analysts were able to form a “pregnancy prediction” score, which allowed them to determine which purchasing patterns indicated a customer was in the early expectant stages. That’s not to say that marketers should completely do away with personalization, as it’s effective when done correctly — personalized emails, for example, have a 6.2% higher open rate than those that aren’t. But in an era with growing concern over privacy and security, tread lightly.