By now, hopefully you have realized that the world is an ever-noisier show and that the bar for commanding attention and persuading your audience continues to rise.
By now, hopefully you are making the shift away from a little bit of everything for everybody, to the right experience for the right consumer.
By now, hopefully your mantra is quickly becoming “treat different customers differently.”
Yet while many of us say we “get it’, so many of our actions remain incongruent.
We annoy our customers by too many emails, phone calls or nuisance fees. Cumbersome policies and procedures turn our customer service groups into the sales prevention department.
We scare our customers by sloppy data collection and management processes. We confuse–or worse, irritate–them by employing seemingly random algorithms that generate largely irrelevant “targeted” marketing messages (I’m looking at you Facebook!).
Sadly, we fail to give respect to that precious asset we call customer permission.
As digital analytic and communication tools proliferate, and their marginal costs drop, they become all too easy to over use.
As more and more consumer data becomes readily available, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we have greater abilities to get the right offer to the right customer at the right time.
In concept this is true, and unquestionably we stand at the precipice of a phenomenal opportunity for marketers and consumers alike.
But before we plunge into this brave new world, before we do what we’ve always done–i.e. throw everything at the wall and see what sticks–let’s ask ourselves a basic question:
Is our attempt at personalization fundamentally compelling, creepy or annoying?
In my experience the customer will see it as one of those three. And unless you are delivering something clearly relevant and differentiated, you’ve wasted your resources and the customer’s time and attention.
Even worse, in the increasingly critical battle for share of attention, you’ve squandered an opportunity. Do that too often and I stop listening, I un-subscribe from your e-mails, I stop caring.
Maybe you have so many profitable and loyal customers that this isn’t a big deal for you.
Maybe. But probably not.