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Personalisation, Personalised Direct Marketing, Personalised Gifts, Big Data

Personalisation, technology and the human touch

Written by Jason Groom
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Originally published
February 17 2016,
updated
September 14 2019

Did you hear the one about autocorrect and a broken watch? They’re both only right twice a day. Boom, boom!

We’re paraphrasing, and maybe it’s not the best punchline you’ve ever heard, but you get the gist? We’ve all seen the autocorrect howlers and know from personal experience how, despite what we believe to be a thorough proofing, mistakes and typos can slip through the net. On a text to a mate or a Facebook post of course it’s no biggie. But, when it comes to a piece of business correspondence or marketing collateral it’s not such a laughing matter and, if we’re talking personalised gifts like a child’s book for example, could easily result in a heart-stopping, “please tell me it’s not true” moment.

Clever tech

Getting one-of-a-kind documents and products to your customers requires a certain skill set.* And, if you need both speed and value, a heavy reliance on technology. Putting your faith wholly on the “tech” though means it has to be 100% fool proof and with intelligence applied that replicates the most pedantic proof-reader.

On guard!

Aside from the usual misspelling of a common name (in itself a contradiction in terms nowadays) here’s some of the danger signs our technology is primed to query and flag;

  • Unusual name-to-prefix pairings e.g. Mr Jane Smith
  • Profanities such as curse/swear words, or known ethnic/racial or religious slurs
  • Incongruous words and terms
  • Missing, empty or questionable-length fields, for example a 2-character first name
  • Unlikely or transposed case (capitals) combinations – ChaRlotte or jUlie
  • Low-quality imagery that, while perhaps suitable for screen, will reproduce badly when printed
  • Unsuitable imagery – that contains nudity or an inappropriate skin-to-clothing ratio

Even with all of the systems and algorithms in place, we’ve not yet discovered a replacement for the human eye. So, our “belt and braces” approach requires at least one set of peepers to oversee each personalisation job as it makes its way from production to fulfilment. Those eyes might belong to Pete (or pâté as my iPhone autocorrect prefers to call him) or one of the other guys in the team who takes a pride in getting it right!

* You can check out our take on what those 14 key skills should be here or watch our short animation on personalised retail gifts

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