Let’s get personal

I see a lot of comments recently about ‘personalisation’ and how it just doesn’t work. People think it’s complicated and you need a complex technology stack to be able to deliver a personal experience digitally.

Let’s start by defining what we mean by ‘personalisation’.
It’s all about me, and how I feel. I don’t actually care if a million other people get the same experience as me, if it feels personal to me then what does it matter?

This can be as simple as being welcomed by name when you log on to a service. Or what about a tiny bit of context? Perhaps ‘Good afternoon Richard’.

I like it when I go away from home and my Weather widget on my phone updates to show the weather wherever I am. It feels personal and it’s definitely contextual.

My news app doesn’t greet me by name, but it does allow me to customise by homepage so I can downgrade certain sections or remove them completely. It’s personal to me because I’ve customised it. And I pay for the adverts to be removed, so it feels even more personal to me because it removes something that I disliked.

What I don’t like is when my bank app offers me a link to buying my first home, even though my mortgage payment goes out every month. It also offers me a promotion about ‘Children and money’ even though I know my bank knows I have no children (this one alternates with an image of a man and a woman which talks about getting married, even though it does know that I’m already married. It might not know that I’m gay. My banking app doesn’t feel personal, quite the opposite. And yet my bank could probably derive more information about me and my life if it wanted to, and I’d happily give permission if it was to make my experience more relevant to me. I might even take out extra services.

My mobile phone app pulls in my Apple ID picture and greets me by name, but then really just tries to sell me more stuff. What it doesn’t do it help me out when my bill is higher than normal because I’ve gone out of my allowed bundle. My phone provider knows I pay the same amount each month, so it knows when there’s an anomaly. And it also knows why my bill is higher, so injecting a help note into my app would feel proactive and personal. But it doesn’t do that. And I don’t allow my phone provider to contact me because it would send me a text message every other day with sales messages that aren’t particularly relevant to me, so by spamming me they are missing out on the opportunity to send me the one or two offers that really could convert me.

There are opportunities in each of those scenarios to make something feel personal without technology stacks or decisioning technology and such like.

The banking app could allow me to turn off or dismiss offers that aren’t relevant to me. That could be a data capture opportunity for them too.
The phone app could simply dedicate a little more space to help and support and a little less space to selling more stuff.

And then there’s technology-based personalisation. Think of it as:

  • One to many – big segments of customers who see the same message or offers, but there’s a correlation that they will find the offer of some interest.
  • One to few – much small segments of customers who also see the same message or offers, but the offers are far more targeted and relevant to them.
  • One to one – the message is just for an individual.

In my view, one to one is pointless – I can’t think of many practical use cases where there isn’t a small group of lookalikes to me that should’t get the same message (taking things like name out of the equation because it’s simple to inject).

One to many is what many people are doing today.

One to few is the target, but it’s going to be down to the organisation to decide what ‘few’ means to them. For example a company with lots of products and offers may decide that few is a lot smaller than a company with, say, ten products and just a couple of offers.

It’s then all about the data 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s