Pandora, Andreessen Horowitz, and ActionIQ on Personalization at Scale

Authored by Haverly Damon

At an invitation-only event hosted at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this April, ActionIQ Founder and CEO Tasso Argyros was joined by two leading lights of Silicon Valley—Pandora Media CMO, Aimée Lapic and Andreessen Horowitz General Partner, Andrew Chen on the topic of personalization at scale. Together they discussed:

  • The critical role of personalization at scale in the digital age
  • The right strategic investments to support personalization at scale
  • Why personalization at scale requires transforming organizational structures.

For Pandora, hyper-personalization is not only a marketing tool. It is core to the value it delivers the consumers. The music and podcast discovery platform attracts 70 million users by creating highly curated experiences based on individual users’ interactions.

As a general partner at a venture capital firm, Andrew Chen has funded many of Silicon Valley’s personalization-at-scale leaders. He has also worked directly with product teams to drive growth through designing and building highly customer-centric experiences.

Here are some of the insights we culled from the discussion:

  • Data access for marketers. Lapic says she has worked to ensure Pandora marketers have direct access to customer data, rather than relying on SQL engineers. By liberating data, marketers can move beyond profile-based marketing (i.e. what a consumer has bought in the past) and embrace interaction-based marketing—understanding behaviors that reveal what they are most likely to want next.
  • Always be testing. Both Chen and Lapic attribute marketing success to a rigorous commitment to A/B/n testing—which is slow, complex and expensive when channel-specific teams and data reside in silos.
  • Merging of marketing, product, and engineering teams.  Rather than treating marketing, product design and engineering as siloed disciplines, personalization leaders understand that all three contribute to the overall customer experience in the digital age. Personalization leaders are breaking down traditional silos and creating cross-functional teams that collaborate in optimizing those experiences.

Learn more about the personalization at scale imperative and how “Smart Hub” Customer Data Platforms integrate and automate data-driven personalization in our white paper, The Journey to Concierge-Grade Experiences at Scale.

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