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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Personalisation Means Real People!

As personalisation has gone mainstream, marketers are regularly sending print and email communications that speak to each recipient individually. But when you are personalising based on information from a marketing database, its important to remember that there are real people on the end of the line. Good use of data can be very effective, but the poor use of data can make people uncomfortable.

One marketer caused a stir, for example, when it targeted men with a personalised communication that used their names with Jr. added to the end to represent the son they might have some dayif they arent careful. The company crafted its marketing pitch around this hypothetical son to present the need for its product. Needless to say, there were plenty of recipients who were quite uncomfortable with that approach. This is something many industry commentators call the creepy factor.

So how can you personalise your content in a positive way without crossing a line into the creepy factor?  Here are three tips.

1. Protect truly private data.  
There is a difference between selling educational materials and selling refinancing offers. If youre selling educational books to children, for example, you might want to know that your neighbor down the street bought a set of the same materials. But you probably dont want a mortgage company outing you as a good candidate for a refinancing offer, and oh by the way, three of your neighbors were, too!

2. Make sure your data is correct. 
Keep your data clean and updated. One company was criticised for marketing to recipients as if they were one step from a retirement home when, in fact, many of them were not even retired.  Use print and on-line surveys to stay in touch with your customers and get to know them.  Keep that data current. Nothing undermines a personalized contact faster than an incorrectly spelled name or incorrect fact!

3. Be considerate. 
Use the data in a way that is respectful and considerate of the person receiving it. You may not want to let the recipient know just how much you know about them right up-front. Some marketers start with name personalisation, and basic targeting and segmentation before building into a truly personalized relationship. 

Remember that data is just data. When it comes to personalisation, its what you do with that data that matters. Need help making sure that your use of data is a good one? Talk to uswere here to help.  

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