Inspired by last Thursday’s article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Age of Personalized Everything”, I thought I would explore how deeply personalized products have become here in the year 2019. Although I’m in the business of personalized marketing, I was not fully aware of the revolution where actual products are becoming personalized, just for you.
What’s driving this seems to be what’s driving the entire digital revolution- the treasure trove of data companies are collecting, and their ability to use it in meaningful ways. On the demand side- this is the new era where customers rule, and with the advent of apps like Netflix and Amazon, customers have come to expect everything personalized just for them. In other words, the dialogue here is… “Yo Gatorade, where’s your ‘Recommendation’ made for me, just like I’m picking a Friday night series to binge on?!”
Here’s a breakdown of some of the groundbreaking new personalized products, and yes- these are for reals:
1. CREATE YOUR OWN GATORADE FLAVOR
This year, Gatorade is launching “Gx”, which is a customizable hydration system. This is where the Apple Watch meets your green electrolyte sugar water. They’ve developed a sweat patch, which tracks your sweat profile and concocts your own Gx drink. To create a so-called sweat profile, you stick the sweat patch on your forearm during a workout, and it records how much sweat you perspire for about 30 minutes and how salty it is. You take a photo of your sweaty patch and send it to the Gx app, which uses image-recognition software to read it. Those results are combined with weather data, the duration and intensity of training and a questionnaire that asks athletes to detail their performance goals. Once the right Gx formula is determined, users buy concentrated pods of it online, load it into a special Gx bottle and add water.
2. DNA-BASED WEIGHT LOSS
Many of you have probably heard of the weight-loss program, Nutrisystem. Well now they’re taking the idea of losing some pounds to the next level. Last year Nutrisystem introduced DNA Body Blueprint, an at-home DNA test that is the basis of a 40-page report on nutrition needs, metabolism and fitness suggestions based on the user’s genetic coding. The test delivers new insight into an individual’s weight-loss efforts. This is fascinating, but what happened to just working out and eating healthy?
3. (YOUR NAME HERE) VITAMINS
I don’t know about you, but the decision of which vitamins to take has tripped me up for years. Blue pill or red pill, right? I’ve always taken the daily multi-vitamin, but I’ve also dabbled in Ginseng for energy, Vitamin B to avoid hair loss (not so effective, to my dismay), and a ridiculous overdose (400% recommended daily amount at least) of Vitamin C whenever I feel a cold coming. Then my doctor tells me that vitamins have never actually been medically proven to be effective, so what do you do? Then comes along the nutrition firm, “Care/of” who aims to demystify the world of vitamins. Customers spend about five minutes online completing a profile of their health needs and goals. Then they receive a list of vitamin recommendations and corresponding research that explains the company’s selections. Customers can select which vitamins they want in their monthly supply of daily vitamin packs. Each pack is printed with the customer’s name, which makes taking daily vitamins fun and builds lucrative word of mouth. Turns out, people do like posting photos of their name. Lord help me, Facebook.
4. RIP miADIDAS
While all of these personalization developments are great, will they actually pan out for the companies that are providing them? Will they generate interest, and can they be profitable given the lack of scale? One of the biggest personalization announcements back in 2000 was Adidas’ “MiAdidas” customization platform- which allowed customers to create their own personalized versions popular shoes like the Superstar, Stan Smith, and Ultra Boost. But unfortunately, earlier this year- Adidas decided to discontinue miAdidas, and focus in a different direction where customers just help make suggestions for shoe designs. Back to the drawing board.