Personalisation – Friend or Foe?


December 3, 2020 BY Katie Liddle - Get free updates of new posts HERE

Thanks for reading, Jack!

If you’re a Jack, that could seem pretty smooth. But if you’re a Jess, or anyone else for that matter, missing the mark would perhaps be an understatement.

With personalised phrases like this becoming what seems a compulsory feature, it’s almost normal these days to feel as though you’ve become friends with the regulars on your screen. They care enough to remember what you last bought or looked at and recommend what you might like next.

But is the “welcome back” as warm a greeting as intended?

Is “items shoppers similar to you have bought” not too presumptuous?

From a consumer’s perspective, it can be a very fine line so for those marketers using personalisation, it’s a difficult balance to find.

Is personalisation a little too… personalised?

Thanks to its movement into mainstream media following Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, data and online privacy is increasing through the ranks of public concern (global pandemic aside that is). This leaves a massive responsibility for those aiming to provide individually personalised shopping environments to successfully maintain trust. Without delving into the importance of trust, the general notion that inaccurate personalisation leads to distrust is one of the key things to consider. Generally, marketing works best when the message behind those communications are consumed without question, as intended. But inaccuracy wakes up the casual internet shopper.

That’s not like what I’ve ordered before?

What am I seeing that for?

Irrelevant content disturbs sub-conscious consumerism because frankly it’s unpleasant or inconvenient. But that’s only the reaction on a surface level. The questioning that follows, why has that content been deemed relevant to them, what data has been used to generate that and where was it collected from, is where our concern lies. This is where the anxiety builds, leading far too closely to that level of distrust we’d hope to so desperately avoid.

The key point is this: although creating personalised experiences for customers has its undoubtable and widely known benefits, it’s important to consider there is in no way any guarantee that these benefits will be reaped. Going overboard with personalisation in the hopes that the consumer is instantly connected to your platform or brand is a risky game – one in which the tables could quite dramatically turn if they dislike or are disengaged with the personalised content they come across.

All in all, there is not one correct strategy or amount of personalisation that can be deemed most effective. It’s all circumstantial. But simply, it’s crucial to understand and acknowledge the possible consequences of our efforts in order to have the best chance of earning those more desirable results.

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Written by Katie Liddle