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Forrester Push Web Personalisation

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Martin Burns

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User since: 26 Apr 1999

Articles written: 143

Companies must face up to the challenge of Web site personalisation for individual users or risk losing business, according to the latest report from Forrester Research, one of the most respected consultancies in the business.

In its survey of business-to-business and business-to-consumer retailers on the Web, Forrester found that companies are giving top priority to tactical difficulties such as what content to deliver and how to trigger actions based on personal profiles.

The report found enthusiasm for personalisation runs high, with respondents expecting it to make sites easier to use and increase sales.

But only 16 per cent of businesses measure the impact of their efforts. The report quotes one computer equipment company as saying: "We have tons of anecdotal evidence that personalisation works, but we've made no effort to measure ROI (return on investment)."

The report emphasises that companies must make better use of data to provide 'smart personalisation' to attract customers, advising that companies ensure personal profiles are matched with customised content.

Examples of poor personalisation are rife. One online drugstore PlantRx - which allows users to enter allergies into their personal profile - still let a researcher buy an aspirin-based product after he said he was allergic to the drug.

Martin Burns has been doing this stuff since Netscape 1.0 days. Starting with the communication ends that online media support, he moved back through design, HTML and server-side code. Then he got into running the whole show. These days he's working for these people as a Project Manager, and still thinks (nearly 6 years on) it's a hell of a lot better than working for a dot-com. In his Copious Free Time™, he helps out running a Cloth Nappies online store.

Amongst his favourite things is ZopeDrupal, which he uses to run his personal site. He's starting to (re)gain a sneaking regard for ECMAscript since the arrival of unobtrusive scripting.

He's been a member of since the very early days, a board member, a president, a writer and even contributed a modest amount of template code for the current site. Above all, he likes to do things because it knowingly chooses to do so, rather than randomly stumbling into them. He's also one of the boys and girls who beervolts in the UK, although the arrival of small children in his life have knocked the frequency for 6.

Most likely to ask: Why would a client pay you to do that?

Least likely to ask: Why isn't that navigation frame in Flash?

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