The more personalised your business the better

Over the last 10 years the internet has brought us a new consumer led era of choice. Internet driven software has been able to empower consumers like never before, and in the process disrupted traditional industries around the world. Some of the most successful tech companies today are ones that have handed consumers the power of choice in a particular area, in industries where previously the options were dictated, or limited, by the company. The next wave of companies that will continue this revolution are those that go beyond consumer driven choice to offer genuine personalisation.

In the health industry you’re hearing the expression “personalised medicine” more and more. Given our uniqueness as human beings we understandably get better results from health treatment that responds to each of us in a very personal way. In the not too distant future it will no longer be enough to take a generic painkiller for a health issue. We’re soon going to be able to formulate a painkiller that works best with your individual DNA, a solution just for you. With the leaps in forms of diagnosis this will be able to be done on the spot, and your painkillers will be formulated and packaged to order on the premises (perhaps 3D printed), and available for you to take home as you leave the doctors office/pharmacy.

This is not about greater choices for us, its the ability for software driven businesses to work with each of us in an extremely personal way, across lots of different industries. Companies creating a consumer interface that allows for true personalisation are already seeing strong growth.

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At Shoes of Prey you can design your own shoe via their website, have them made and delivered to your door. No more choosing from mass production shoes, you can be wearing shoes designed and made to your exact personal specifications and tastes (Ed note: I’ve never personally used the website!).

In a similar vein I heard recently of a workwear company that is using personalisation to take on traditional rag traders in a very interesting way. Previously large mining companies would offer employees a choice of a few different types of work wear, regardless of how fit for the role they may have been. Drive a truck, here’s your workwear. Electrician, here’s the same workwear. Now they are able to offer each separate role a chance to create workwear that is truly fit for purpose. Need 4 pockets instead of 3? A side leg pocket to hold a particular tool? Chest pockets for small items? Venting at the back instead of the sides? Or maybe no pockets so they don’t catch on equipment. They allow each person to design the workwear thats right for them and their role, and performs best for what they do.

More broadly, at our event tech company we build event technology that delivers as personalised an experience as possible for our users. From a personalised experience with a mobile Check In or event app, to a fundraising page with your own pictures and messages. Every time we launch new features customers tell us they enjoy the personalised aspects of the interaction, both on client side and user side.

There can often be an additional cost for highly personalised offerings. However time and again people have proved they are happy to pay extra when you are delivering significant incremental value to them. What can be stronger value than something which responds to you as an individual.

Each of us is constantly changing. Our tastes develop, our knowledge deepens, our moods and our sensitivities change on an almost daily basis for our whole lives (hopefully). So while companies work ever harder on their big data in order to be able to market their existing products to the exact right market, perhaps they should be looking to create products that allows the consumer to personalise the product experience.

Putting choice in the hands of the consumer has proven to be a very powerful thing. Putting personalisation in the hands of the consumer makes it more of a joint venture between consumer and company. And that’s what the next wave of great businesses are starting to look like.

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