Types of Over-personalization
The importance of personalization in marketing cannot be overstated; however, brand personalization can be overdone, even intrusive or offensive, resulting in brand abandonment rather than loyalty. Here are four examples of over personalization that can sabotage digital personalization at scale.
Consumers expect personalization up to a point, but if you cross the line, the joy of feeling seen can quickly turn to discomfort or concern that their privacy was violated. In order to stay on the right side of that line, always be transparent about the data you collect, how it’s collected, and why you use it. Also, always give customers a chance to opt in and out – sharing data should be a trusted exchange.
Unauthorized personalization is typically the result of marketing using purchased third-party data to target customers. Offering personalized content to someone who has never interacted with your brand – and therefore, never consented to share data with you – can come across as highly salesy, intrusive, and pushy. Personalization, again, is an understanding between consumers and brands, and it should aim to nurture connections rather than force them.
Unfortunately, insensitive personalization happens unintentionally all the time. For example, when a customer receives an incentive for Mother’s Day Gift purchases – and that person just recently lost their mother. Here’s another example: a young woman searches for pregnancy tests at an online pharmacy. Suddenly, she’s bombarded with retargeted ads for pregnancy tests over the next few weeks, and she’s only 15, so her parents notice. Uh oh.
Brand personalization is mutually beneficial to brands and consumers when it’s executed correctly; however, it can be a big turn-off when not. For example, sending a personalized email or text to a customer with someone else’s name? Yes, it happens. However, this situation could have been corrected with internal testing.
So, what’s the lesson here? It’s not enough to simply collect customer data for personalization efforts. The data needs to be managed, massaged, and segmented to ensure you are targeting the right people with the right content. Technology helps with this management; however, there still needs to be some kind of human oversight to ensure everything is working as it should.