Performance Marketing Insights returns to Berlin next month with a host of sessions and networking opportunities. But one new for 2015 feature, Speaker Encore, is bringing the two together, allowing registrants to get stuck into conversation with some of the leading minds to take the stage. 

Ahead of his session ‘Creating the Ultimate Personalisation Plan’, we spoke to Jochen Schlosser, part of the executive board at Hamburg-based Unique Digital and Speaker Encore participant. You can find out more about the opportunity, the full list of speakers involved, and how to get involved here. 

Your PMI session focuses on personalisation of our web. How would you rate our current progress in this area?

This question is rather complex since it is (at least) necessary to differentiate the individual “components” of the Internet. In the context of social media everything is obviously highly personalised. When we shift our focus to ecommerce sites, the level of personalisation decreases significantly. The least level of personalisation – basically none – is integrated into major publisher sites. 

The questions is: Is this just the way it is supposed to be, is it just connected to the availability of login data? I believe not. I believe that even regular news sites should personalise certain portions of their portfolio on mobile and on desktop. This personalisation based on data will improve the relevance of the content offering and thus the customer experience. There is definitely room for improvement and it is definitely worth the effort.

Does your job title ‘director of data and IT’ say it all about the approach brands have to take when creating personal experiences, and perhaps targeting in general?

The good old times where most work was done manually will definitely soon be over and, especially in performance marketing, the importance of IT will further increase.

However, I do not believe that it is all about data and algorithms. It is not about substituting creativity with technology, it is about finding the right blend of the ingredients. Today, only humans are capable of creating surprising, humorous, emotional content and the big successful campaigns will not be created by algorithms within the next ten years, but: Technology and data do offer opportunities to customise and personalise campaigns, they allow us to tell stories in a personal and non-linear way, and they extend the playing field where we can be creative in. 

So, should you choose the human brain, the best data available, or clever algorithms? – The answer is, to be successful in the future, you must leverage all of these opportunities.

You’re involved in PMI’s new Speaker Encore feature. Tell us what attendees can expect from this, and the benefits of them taking part.

My personal expectation is to exchange experiences, concepts, and ideas in a very direct and personal way. Compared to regular panel discussions, which tend to be rather uniform and homogenous, I expect more controversy. The reduced setting of the “Speaker Encore” offers the opportunity to really question certain views and concepts. It further allows to go into details where necessary. The skills and the background of the people involved in the Encore will drive the agenda and as a result, I hope to have a rather bespoke conversation.

Without wanting to give away too much, is there anything you’re expecting to get brought up in the Speaker Encore?

When we talk about personalisation, data privacy will definitely – and with a good reason – be an issue. In this context, we should not just focus on the legal perspective, but also on the perceived privacy of individual users. Furthermore, complexity of the necessary technology, and as a consequence costs, will probably be discussed. However, I am pretty sure that someone will bring up something surprising that I do not have on my list.

In terms of the event in general, are there any themes that have rang out this year that are bound to be discussed by speakers and attendees? 

The field of digital marketing is moving so quickly and there are so many topics that are worthy to be brought on stage. I would really like to see use cases for hyperlocal and cross-device targeting, cross-channel usage of data including online-offline attribution. But even the good old field of search engine advertising is still moving forward. For instance, I personally believe that the integration of data points (like CRM segments) into your campaigns is simply intriguing.