Benoit Cacheux, Global Chief Digital Officer at Zenith sat down with Sharon Braude, Director of Marketing Technology, Operations & CRM for The Walt Disney Company EMEA at the Technology for Marketing conference to discuss the pros and cons of personalisation. Below is a summary of that session.

While personalisation is often referred to as the holy grail of marketing, it does come with tension. On one side, there’s technological advancements, the relevance of content and increased effectiveness. On the other, there are issues around changes to cookies, Ad IDs, and the need for many creative assets, which can increase production costs.

Personalisation provides brands the opportunity to have a one-to-one relationship with the consumer, which increases relevancy and effectiveness. However, if it is not invited, initiated with the wrong intention, or if responses from the other party are simply ignored, then the whole relationship can be at risk.

Q: Is personalisation seen as a critical battleground for Disney?

A: The importance of personalisation is as valuable for Disney as any other brand. However, the nuances of every interaction need to be handled sensitively. For example, how do you personalise the launch of a movie? And, if you do so successfully, how do you carry this through to the rest of the customer journey in every single interaction to ensure that you’re being consistent? One mis-placed step and you could damage the trust you’ve carefully built up.

Q: The industry is taking a more critical look at how to protect consumers’ privacy whilst still giving them access to personalisation where relevant. What advice would you give to marketers when it comes to collecting consumer data?

A: The collection of consumer data needs to comply with the ever-changing regulations and the onus is on everyone in the industry to make sure that the highest standards are upheld. Therefore, areas governing consent, the ability to opt-out and the right to be forgotten all need to be respected and adhered to.

Q: Chrome killed the third-party tracking cookie and Apple followed suit with its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). As a top priority, what areas are most likely to be affected with your organisation?

A: This change in third-party tracking could have a major impact on how consumer engagement is handled. As digital budgets are managed via data management platforms and delivered programmatically, it is fundamental to work with partners who take a consumer-centric approach and put measures in place to protect the consumer and gather their consent to receive relevant marketing in a compliant way.

Q: Many marketers often worry about the impact of personalisation on creative production. What advice would you offer to tackle the impact on creative production?

A: With so much creative output coming from Disney, it is imperative that systems are in place to build in personalisation if an opportunity exists. There are so many factors to consider, but my advice would be to assess whether the creative production can be delivered to meet the requirements of the consumer journey. If this is not feasible, then try to build creative that holds the right message but doesn’t rely too heavily on personalisation. However, if you are able to apply degrees of personalisation, then this could provide a great opportunity to meet a consumer’s need at the right stage of the journey.

Q: Programmatic plays a key role in the ability to execute personalisation. How will the industry address its lack of transparency?

A: We participated in ISBA UK’s Programmatic Supply Chain Study, which covered many factors affecting supply chain transparency – standardisation and accuracy of reporting, better collaboration between stakeholders, development of governance practices and standards, optimised investment strategies between PMPs and the open marketplace, and the diligence required in applying third party verification. This played a key role in applying pressure on the programmatic landscape to highlight any participants or processes that don’t provide full transparency in their activities. The dominant players have a key role to play to ensure the supply path becomes fully transparent so advertisers have full confidence in the benefits of programmatic and costs can be accurately tracked.

Q: What has Disney has done to build the right foundations for personalisation and data-driven marketing?

A: It takes a lot of elements to build a fully functional ecosystem that effectively delivers relevant, personalised communication. We’ve focused on the standardisation of data governance, building a consistent taxonomy and centralisation of reporting which accounts for performance against business objectives.

 Consolidation of AdTech that enables consistency and delivers best practice is fundamental to connecting each consumer interaction in the correct way. This needs to be consolidated and governed with clear processes that everyone follows. First-party data is best managed centrally through one cloud-based system to ensure that consumer data is governed appropriately and consistently.

Q: What’s your view on current initiatives within the industry to finding new identity solutions?

A: Everyone is trying to find the holy grail to build identity graphs. Industry bodies are driving collaboration in our industry as the evolution of identity needs to be solved through a number of stakeholders and solutions. Unified ID solutions are also of interest and we will keep a close eye on them so we can select the most appropriate ones to test. Contextual advertising is also resurgeing as cookies become deprecated.

Q: What are some of your favourite examples of great personalisation?

A: Some of the more memorable campaigns include: Amazon ‘because you searched for/ bought…’ recommendations, Starbucks’ name your drink, Spotify’s account customisation, and viewing recommendation engines like Disney+.

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