I was on holiday in Cornwall last week and a friendly shopkeeper selling me some cider, scones and pasties asked if my wife and I had been serenading our 9-month old son with the Baby Shark Song.
To our eternal shame we didn’t really know the song – my wife had simply not heard of it, and I had only been treated to it via a BBC Breakfast TV feature when the anthem went mainstream.
So, back home in our kitchen I asked Alexa to “play the Baby Shark Song”. Alexa announced that I needed Amazon Prime Music access, but that she was granting me two weeks free trial with no strings attached and no auto-renewal at the end of the fortnight. Brilliant do-do-do-do-do.
After enjoying the song do-do-do-do-do I got a notification on my phone of a new email from Amazon.
It was a good email, telling me about my trial, but, of course, the main thing I noticed was this…
George Ezra? I’m not judging Ezra’s music, but I’ve never listened to him via a streaming service and he’s not really my thing.
Being so used to the unerring accuracy of Spotify recommendations and the personalised marketing of Netflix, Amazon’s email was a sort of a funny joke.
I know that Amazon might not have any streaming history to go on, but it certainly knows I listen to 6Music every week via my Echo. Could it not have taken a punt at suggesting something a little more to my taste?
There’s not much to this article, but I think it’s worth stating that my admiration for Amazon goes far enough for this Ezra recommendation to come as a genuine surprise.
Amazon first gained fame from tech that offered us books we genuinely wanted to read. And now that, decades later, the stakes are raised in the world of streaming entertainment, I half expect Amazon’s attention to detail to stretch as far as its free trial emails and my Echo radio habits.
I am being picky, but the broader point is more pertinent. I have always been a bit of a sceptic when it comes to personalisation, believing that great marketers rely on averages, amazing branding and proper creative, not 1:1 relationships. But I also believe that the most important thing is having the product that the customer wants. George Ezra may have changed my mind about personalisation. Retailers sending generic newsletters should take note.