Esteban Contreras is the VP of product at HYP3R, an engagement platform for venues. Previously he was the director of experience design at Sprinklr, an SaaS company that helps large brands create, manage, and optimize social experiences.
He also worked as a marketing manager at Samsung where he oversaw the social media activity of the brand in North America.
I asked him about personalization and the importance of social analytics at the LeWeb conference in Paris.
Website personalization is a trending topic these days. What’s your opinion about this method, how useful do you find it?
I think personalization is tricky, in the sense that if you personalize too much you may lose in being able to share certain content and information. To me, Amazon is the king of personalization.
When I go to Amazon I don’t get different colors or different fonts or a different layout, I just get different recommendations. And I know that it’s a recommendation based on my usage.
I also know that it’s going to be flood, because if I search for a gift for my mom or my dad, all of a sudden Amazon will recommend that. But the site fixes itself over time. So as long as I search for the right thing, Amazon recommends it.
Consumers share a lot of information about their preferences on social media sites, like Facebook. Do you think that using that data for personalization could improve their experience?
Leveraging Facebook is an interesting way to do it.
You have the danger of picking up a lot of likes, for example, sometimes people like companies only because they would like to join a contest. So to an extent, this could be problematic.
But at the same time, Facebook has the most rich data of any social network, and they provide the best opportunities for targeting custom audiences. And if you’d personalize parts of your site for custom audiences created from your existing customers and combine that with other data, that could be really interesting.
It could be really interesting both in terms of A/B testing and in terms of enhancing the experience over time. So maybe the first time you go to a website, it could show you something standard, but personalize the experience over time, in a way of guiding people onto that.
Many people say that automation and personalization could be the next step in a brand’s relationships with customers. How do you see this landscape in the next two years?
Ideally, you want to get to know your customers across multiple touchpoints.
At Sprinklr we look at it from the perspective of social, but any digital touchpoint is a way of interacting with your consumers. And an interaction on social media ideally connects with an interaction with your website, with your email, with a mobile hub, and in a perfect world, all of these points are combined.
We’re definitely very focused on experience management on social sites. But I think there will be other players that will make sure that it is done well for the website and it is done well for every other aspect as well.
In many ways, it’s what we always wanted.
At the same time, you’ve got to be aware that consumers want to know what’s happening so you also have to be respectful of privacy and make sure that you have the right security in place. You need to ensure that you are not alienating people and that you don’t annoy them because that is a big danger in personalization.
If you go too far, it could get scary and it could get annoying. But if people are aware of what you’re doing, and they understand how you’re doing it, they will feel comfortable with it.
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Besides personalization and social data, I also asked Esteban Contreras about creating professional networks, ways to leverage Twitter, and his reasons for joining a startup. I posted this part of the interview on my personal blog. Click here if you’d like to read it.