Personalised marketing is an illusion. If we ever really had personalised marketing, then the closest we ever got to it was the apocryphal small town storekeeper of yesteryear who would know each and every customer by name, know what was happening in their lives at any given point and would be able to make well-intentioned product recommendations for each of them individually.
Most of the readers of this article will be too young to know if that situation ever really existed, although we could ask our grandmothers. But if it ever did, then it would have relied on two key elements. Firstly, in a small town where everyone knows everyone, the local shopkeeper was probably as close to a real friend of the shopper as is possible in a commerce situation – that is, if he or she was not actually a friend. Secondly, in a situation where there was probably only one store in each small town, the local shopkeeper really did see and know every purchase that each shopper made.
Why personalised marketing is so difficult today
If we fast forward to the modern day, you quickly realise just how impossible that situation is to replicate today. Firstly, while