7 Reasons Why Personalization Doesn’t Work

Today’s customers expect timely and contextually relevant experiences. However, most organizations are still unable to deliver them. Despite significant personalization technology investments and the availability of more data sources than ever, companies are still falling short. Retailers must recognize their current personalization efforts are creating an ever-widening gap between them and their customers. Here are just 7 reasons why personalization doesn’t work:

connect1. Your Data Isn’t Connected
Brands need a centralized database, with data that is real-time, responsive and always available. They also require a smart combination of predictive analytics and strategic controls to effectively unify engagement across every relevant customer touch point. The challenge for marketers is that despite the potential of new technologies and the data that fuels them to create true “omnichannel” experiences, old-school methodologies are forcing everything through the same, outdated, siloed processes.

disruptive2. It’s Too Overt and Disruptive
In a recent Reflektion webinar, Forrester Principal Analyst Brendan Witcher cautioned brands to “be overt with the collection of customer data, but covert about communicating what you know about them.” The best experiences should feel natural and non-intrusive to the customer; taking into account everything you know about them.

shortsighted3. It’s Short Sighted and Not Engaging
Many current personalization campaigns are focused on short-term, incremental wins rather than long-term customer engagement. You can test and tweak for years to optimize every nuance of a single landing page for every possible segment, but what you’re really doing is making a less engaging experience for each individual. Focus on the long game for long-term impact.

inconsistent4. It’s Inconsistent Across Touchpoints
Most marketers lack a holistic omnichannel view of their campaigns and customers despite their efforts and investments. Meanwhile, their organizations may be unable to provide the data access and integration necessary to deliver personalized customer experiences across touch points. Organizations have to put the customer at the center of their strategy, and with that, everything they know about them. This will ensure messaging and experiences are consistent regardless of how and where customers choose to engage.

moment5. It’s Not Relevant In-the-Moment
Today’s methodologies are really about one size fits many; not one-to-one. Organizations overlook very important differences in customers when they view them as static personas. Marketers must be able to anticipate and react to each individual’s real-time intent and behaviors if they want to create customer experiences that are truly relevant in each discrete moment. When you engage your customers with the most relevant content and products you create a more enjoyable and successful experience for them that drives greater results for your brand.

averages6. It Treats Customers As Averages
eCommerce leaders must help their organizations prepare for the next evolution of personalization, which will rely more on data-driven individualization than models of segmentation. Creating an averaged customer journey targeting overly broad segments actually creates no one’s journey. To truly personalize the experience you need to speak to your customers at an individual level. This individualization is only accomplished by engaging each of your customers as a segment of one, in real-time.

listen7. You’re Not Actually Listening to Your Customers
You may be hearing your customers, but are you actually listening to what they’re telling you? Are you able to be one step ahead of them; understanding and responding to each micro-expression in real time? Understanding each customer’s intent and preferences allows you to guide and influence their journey while boosting overall engagement.

Matt Helmke
Matt Helmke

Matt is the senior director of communications and content at Reflektion. He’s led global communications, content and brand strategy programs for high-profile, culture-shifting Fortune 500 business divisions, as well as innovative, early-stage startups. The common thread running through his career is a passion for disruptive technologies focused on improving and redefining end-user experiences. Outside of technology, his passions include his family, music, bourbon, craft beers, fishing and swimming… but not all at once.