Back to Gartner for Marketers Blog

Debunking Three Common Myths about Personalization

By Jennifer Polk | September 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

MarketingAdvertisingCustomer ExperienceData and Analytics

Personalization is quickly becoming one of the leading techniques in customer marketing. But it isn’t easy, or easily understood. In fact, there’s hype surrounding personalization, from software providers promising double-digit growth to marketing departments drowning in customer data. Here we dispel three common myths about personalization.

Myth #1: More is better.

If a little personalization is good, a lot of personalization must be better, right? Not necessarily. Some personalization is expected and does little to differentiate your brand, like using a customer’s name in an email subject-line. More relevant personalization, like recommendations based on recent transactions, can increase conversion, retention and customer satisfaction—key business objectives.

Use customer data to increase understanding of what level of personalization is valued by customers and to deliver deeper, more relevant personalization. But, avoid gathering personal information you don’t plan to use. If you don’t know why you need the info, can’t explain how you plan to use it and can’t show how that use case benefits your customers, then you don’t deserve the information.

Myth #2: Personalization is a one-size-fits all solution. 

Wrong. The definition of personalization varies widely, even within a given company. Personalization can pertain to customized marketing and communication, or it could mean tailored digital commerce product recommendations based on geolocation and location inventory levels. As one Forbes article explains, it could be a business strategy or a marketing tactic.

Start where you are. Use the data you have to understand how personalization could improve results. Test personalized content, campaigns and offers based on available data, comparing results against a baseline. Use business outcomes to build the business case for more personalization resources.

Myth #3: Just buy a personalization engine. 

Maybe. A tool alone won’t deliver personalization. Successful personalization takes business strategy and measurable objectives, data and content. A personalization engine alone isn’t the solution. And choosing the right type of solution is key—from marketing software with personalization capabilities to personalization engines to customer analytics tools that enable personalization.

Start with the business strategy and objectives. What are you trying to achieve? Perhaps your goal is new customer acquisition. If so, your personalization efforts may focus on targeted advertising, such as lookalike audiences, to reach potential customers with tailored messaging. This doesn’t require a personalization engine, but rather data, media and ad tech.

Personalization can be an effective technique for increasing marketing relevance and effectiveness, increasing customer engagement and improving business results. Avoid common pitfalls like overinvesting in data you don’t use or tools that don’t support your strategy, or, skipping strategy altogether.

Use this week’s Analyst Picks to better understand the principals of personalization, how to get started and how to take your personalization efforts to the next level and how to measure the ROI of personalization investments and activities. Review this week’s articles for examples of companies that are successfully using personalization to improve marketing and business results.

Comments are closed