One of the top concerns among marketers when adopting personalization is that the consumer might consider the brand’s communication ‘creepy’. This is a well-founded cause for apprehension, given Gartner research shows that if a brand’s messages are perceived as creepy, 57% of consumers say they will unsubscribe from the brand’s emails. Additionally, 38% will even stop doing business with the brand.
While consumers value personalization and reward brands that offer personalized experiences, consumers are looking for a certain type of personalization.
A common reason why some attempts at personalization fall flat—and are even perceived as creepy by the consumer—is because the consumer sees little utility from the personalized message. In the consumer’s eyes, all the personalized message does is prove that the brand knows the consumer.
Consumers are Looking for Something Else
Buying has become increasingly complex for consumers as they have to sort through an avalanche of information—whether they’re actively seeking it out or not—and in many categories, consumers face a growing number of available choices.
As such, consumers are much more likely to reward the brands that use personalization to help them advance through their purchase journey, rather than the brands using personalized content simply for the sake of doing so. Brands can amplify the effectiveness of their helpful content by using consumer data to tailor the help provided to consumers.
This form of personalization, which Gartner has come to call “tailored help”, is far more likely to succeed than personalized content focused on signaling that the brand knows the consumer well. In fact, tailored help can increase commercial impact by 20%, according to a recent Gartner study.
A tailored help approach presents a roadmap for the type of content brands should be producing to support personalization.
Gartner research has uncovered five ways a consumer can perceive a brand’s personalized message as helpful:
- “Make it Easy” – The message made it easier to get through the purchase.
- “Reassure Me” – The message made me less anxious about making the wrong decision.
- “Teach Me Something New” – The message helped me understand how to better use a product I purchased.
- “Direct Me” – The message guided me to a product/service that would solve a problem for me.
- “Reward Me” – The message provided me with exclusive benefits.
Brands should focus the content feeding their personalization efforts on helping consumers across these dimensions.
Gartner Advisors are happy to share the broader findings of this research, which includes quantitative evidence, a showcase of examples, and best practice case studies. Just notify your contact at Gartner of your interest.