When bad personalization happens to good people

In a slow growth world your primary source of profitable top-line growth is going to come from winning market share. Increasingly that means not only having a winning product or service, but delivering a customer experience that is powerfully relevant and personalized.

Leveraging customer insight to move closer to a one-to-one relationship should be on any brand’s short list of priorities.

But you need to get it right.

I remember many years ago when I was in college I decided to live in the Theta Chi house on campus for the summer. One day I got a letter addressed to “Mr. Theta Chi.” Part of the copy read something like “you and all the little Chi’s will have hours of family fun with our new product.” Nice try.

Just this morning I got an e-mail from a purportedly “luxury” travel service touting their great personal attention and highly customized services. I’m willing to believe they are good people who serve their clients well. But when the e-mail started out “Dear Mr. Sageberry” they instantly undermine their brand promise.

It’s not easy to make “Me-tail” happen. The potential returns are enormous. But you must do the work.

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