Personalization vs. Privacy: Is Your Tailored Experience Scaring Customers?
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Personalization vs. Privacy: Is Your Tailored Experience Scaring Customers?

Personalization is a form of one-on-one marketing where a company uses data and analytics to customize brand messages for individual customers or potential prospects. Personalized marketing has revolutionized the field of marketing from the ground up, and can be credited for boosting customer experience and overall business profitability. Millennials penetrating the consumer demographic accelerated the shift from traditional marketing tools, with 70% of millennials feeling annoyed at irrelevant emails whereas 91% of consumers are likely to make purchases from brands that offer personalized messages with recommendations and offers.

But a “privacy paradox” is starting to emerge. This is where we start to notice a discrepancy between consumer attitude and consumer behavior. Some brands tend to go overboard with their personalization tactics and end up making the consumer feel unsafe about how their data is being used. Not only does the level of personalization not lead to a conversion, but might deter a consumer from engaging with the brand in the future.

For personalization to be effective, companies need to respect the privacy of consumer data, use the data responsibly, and try to gauge how much personalization is ideal. Leveraging campaign analytics solutions is a great way to track campaign metrics and optimize the execution in real-time, to enhance efficiency and best serve consumers.

Why Is Personalization So Important?

Traditional marketing campaigns would unload a tidal wave of generic messages onto both existing and potential customers, without any discretion. This led to very few conversions and to make matters worse, consumers do not want to engage with a brand that keeps pestering them with emails that have nothing of interest. Personalization is the solution to this problem and is a powerful tool when the execution is right.

Research suggests that open rates for personalized emails are 29% higher, with 72% of consumers only engaging with personalized content.

Your marketing campaign can be enhanced further with the employment of a simple customer experience analytics solution, and an agile campaign analytics tool. Manage your campaign and monitor your clients, to optimize the campaign in real-time and maximize sales and conversions.

If you haven’t adopted personalization as part of marketing strategy as yet, the following are some of the benefits that your brand could be reaping right now:

  • Effective targeting of specific audiences through personalized emails or texts, based on user’s data such as search history, purchase history or even location, enhance engagement and boost conversions in the process.
  • Unique content creation opportunities present themselves with personalized marketing, where brands have the opportunity to stand out and make a positive impact on consumers.
  • Stronger personal relationships can be developed with individual customers with simple personalized emails such as wishing them on their birthdays, establishing goodwill, and ensuring repeat business.
  • Make informed recommendations based on a customer’s browsing or purchase history, allowing the customer to feel that you know them and care for them.
  • Boosting sales and conversions is a major benefit of personalized marketing, which comes along with better targeting, effective recommendations, and a positive relationship with customers.

Risks of Personalization in Marketing

Brands walk a thin line when it comes to personalized marketing and they need to be wary not to go overboard and appear to be aggressive and intrusive. Personalization is mutually beneficial so long as customers feel that they can trust a brand with their data, and be rewarded with a retail experience customized for them. If the trust is cannot be upheld, the brand risks losing both potential and existing customers.

The following are some of the risks brands need to be aware of, so that they may effectively engage and not annoy their audience:

Aggressive Personalization: If a potential client who visits your brand’s landing page is then forced to keep looking at retargeting ads that follow him across the web, the very element that would attract the attention will be the one to annoy the individual and potentially discourage him from engaging further with your brand.

Unauthorized Personalization: Customers want to feel understood and not spied on. Using customer information that they did not willingly provide for personalizing their retail experience, appears to them as a breach of privacy resulting in mistrust and consumers feeling that personalization is a little creepy.

Insensitive Personalization: Customer information is personal and having the data does not always justify using it for personalization, especially if the information is sensitive. Potential customers browsing the web do not enjoy receiving emails or messages from unknown companies that make references to their personal information. Consequences could vary from negative reviews online to a drop in sales as a result of the loss of goodwill.

Incorrect Personalization: Being data-dependent, personalization requires accurate customer data to be effective. If data hygiene is not maintained and the data being relied on is outdated and inaccurate, personalization efforts will be a negative outcome exercise. From something as simple as spelling the customer’s name wrong to recommending products unrelated to their field of work, reflects ineptitude and breeds mistrust.

How to Avoid Deterring Customers with Your Personalized Marketing

Personalization is a great tool for connecting with your audience on a personal level and enhancing the customer experience for each potential and existing customer. But since appearing creepy is not an option, here are a few simple things that your brand can practice to avoid discouraging customers with personalized marketing:

  • Always ask customers for permission, so that there is no room for unauthorized personalization. If possible, provide customers with a way to opt-in or out of personalized experiences.
  • Implement personalization campaigns gradually, so that both the customer is eased into it, and your brand gets an opportunity to test the campaign and optimize accordingly.
  • Know your audience before executing the campaign and consider reliable primary research options. If you are addressing an older demographic, they may view your personalization as creepy and intrusive and refuse to engage further.
  • Use agile campaign analytics solutions to monitor campaign metrics in real-time and optimize according to requirements.

Do not let the risks of personalization dissuade you from incorporating them into your marketing campaigns. Personalized marketing is the future, as long as you can exercise caution, respect private information and deliver a rewarding retail experience to your customers. Get it right and you will have them coming back for more.

Yash Bhattacharya


Yash Bhattacharya

Yash has over 5 years of experience developing thought leadership content both in-house and for clients across industries. Mostly working with giants in the technology...

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