What's Next: Personalization at The Washington Post?
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What’s Next: Personalization at the Washington Post?

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos starts his High Orde...
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos starts his High Order Bit presentation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can Jeff Bezos Turn the Tide at The Washington Post by Introducing Personalization?

 

When I read about Jeff Bezos buying the Washington Post, I was surprised and also hopeful. I am a big Bezos fan and if anyone can transform the “newspaper industry,” I think Mr. Bezos can. Will he bring newspapers into the 21st century just as he did retail with Amazon?  Will the Post begin to use personalization to engage readers with their content?  Will they use personalization to deliver the most relevant ads to their readers?  A large part of Amazon’s success is due to their personalization prowess, and Bezos is Amazon.

Think about it:  Amazon wows its customers with their ability to know what you want and/or need, be it on the commerce or the customer service fronts.  I’ve drunk the Amazon kool-aid. I probably spend 80%+ of my non-perishable grocery retail purchases with Amazon and you know why? Because I feel like they know me, like I’m a member of their family.  Personalization works!

And if for some reason, they get me wrong now and again, I go online or pick up the phone and ask for help.  I don’t cringe before contacting Amazon’s customer service center and our interaction never ends with me wanting to scream in frustration.  (We’ve all been there with other companies’ customer service, right?) Amazon performs head-and-shoulders above its competition on both commerce and service because they have all this big data they’ve collected about me.  And they use it wisely, to make my life better.  My life being better > Concern about Amazon collecting my data for personalization.

But…

Can product and customer personalization be transferred to the editorial content world?  That’s the story I’ll be following.  If a newspaper–print or digital–could engage me with extremely relevant editorial content the way Amazon does with goods and services, they would definitely get my loyalty.  And if. while reading the articles, I only (or mostly) see only those ads that are relevant for me, I  would probably also become loyal to those advertisers.  Probably.

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