Shutterfly Product VP on The Power of Personalization (Part 3)
You don’t necessarily need complex machine learning tools to get started with personalization marketing. For instance, at one startup of mine, I once emailed a thousand people and measured the response. Then I tweaked the email and kept up this process until the response rate got better. You can implement tools like MailChimp to do easy A/B testing.
At Shutterfly, our refinement process is continuous. We closely follow changing preferences and needs. On our customer app, we offer an auto-upload feature which lets us see customer preferences, even before they shop. We look at which images they interact with most and showcase those.
If you don’t have any data on the customer yet, you can’t use personalization marketing. So what can you do? We make a lot of evergreen landing pages, especially seasonal ones. People come to our site for personalized gifts and cards, so we serve up what has resonated with other people in the past. Then as soon as they start clicking around, we can begin personalizing according to their preferences.
Product Discovery & Innovation
In the product discovery process, we have a finite set of resources. I have to really believe in the product before I champion it. So I ask myself, “Would I bet my house on it?” Brands carry a lot of reputational risk – so we have to be very careful. We also consider personalization marketing data to help guide these decisions.
As a general strategy, we come up with big themes we believe will resonate in five years from now. Then we invest a lot developing those initiatives. These are the existential elements of our business, and they occupy about 70% of our attention.
We also have smaller projects that push the envelope, and they either fail or succeed fast. This innovative branch takes up roughly 30% of our resources.
Some Rules To Live By
First Commandment – Know thy customer. Identify the signals they give you to know what will resonate with them in the future. That’s the essence of personalization marketing.
Second Commandment – Be maniacal about their stated and implied needs. We look at this on a daily basis.
Third Commandment – Know that customer needs change over time.
Fourth Commandment – Serve them well and they will serve you well.
About the speaker
Kristie Gan is the VP of Product & Head of Commerce at Shutterfly - responsible for overseeing over $2 billion in revenue across the Shutterfly & LifeTouch brands. Previously, she was the first General Manager of Shutterfly's Cards and Stationery, Photo Gifts, and Calendars business. She started off her career in technology, media & telecom investment banking. Kristie holds an MBA from Harvard University and currently lives in San Francisco.