Content Personalization is Creepy (And Other Marketing Myths)

August 6, 2015 Asaf Rothem

I recently had a conversation with a fellow marketer who had a very different view of content personalization from the one I have. He described his experience as something like this:

Hi there blog reader (insert name here). We’ve been tracking your online activity, so we know that you’re interested in (insert topic here). In that case, why don’t you check out (insert pushy sales pitch here).

That felt as an outdated, hard sell, shady e-commerce experience. I then asked him if he felt users really view personalized content offers as a creepy process by which brands collect data without authorization and track online activity in the hopes of making a quick sale? Or is it something they actually prefer?

To the seasoned marketer, content personalization is viewed as a proven, effective way to increase conversion rates and improve the user experience; a way for marketing professionals to tailor the user experience to its own interests. In fact, one-third of marketers said that personalization is the most important capability for marketing in the future.

And yet, there are still some marketers who believe that consumers see personalized content as something much different (the creepy scenario we described at the onset of this post). They feel that consumers are uneasy at the thought of marketers knowing too much about them. But as the bulk of CMOs can tell you, nothing could be further from the truth.

Here, we’ll dispel the 3 most common myths surrounding content personalization:

Content marketing myths

Myth 1: Consumers are turned off by personalization

Fact: The majority (74%) of consumers get frustrated when website content appears that has nothing to do with their interests.

Consumers have gotten used to content personalization. Now, they are interested in optimized personalization. Simply using your visitor’s first name in an email while the rest of the content is unrelated to their needs will definitely turn them off.  You need to fully tailor your message to your consumers’ activity and interests to see real results from personalization.

In order to reach this deeper level of engagement with your customers, you need to be able to analyze your visitor’s actions and interests in real-time, but that’s a topic for another day.

Myth 2: Customers don’t want companies collecting information about them

Fact: While customers are apprehensive about the insights companies are gaining from the web activity, they don’t necessarily want to prevent it, but they would like to control it. More than 60% of consumers want to know why, what and how web sites select content personalized for them and almost two-thirds would like the option for privacy controls.

The key to effective persona-based marketing is being upfront with your users about the fact that you are customizing content to improve their experience. Far from turning them off to your company, this transparent view into your marketing will build trust and highlight the fact that you are working to create a more customized experience for them.

Myth 3: Marketers using personalization are looking for a quick sale

Fact: Consumers and marketers see personalization as a way to engage with customers on a deeper level – for the long-term. In fact, 78% of consumers believe organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships.

Persona based marketing is a vehicle to creating a lasting relationship with consumers by knowing what they want to see—and what they don’t. By engaging them throughout the buyer journey – however long that might be in your industry – the insights you continue to gain will result in even more personalized content and an even better customer experience.

Despite these myths about content personalization, the majority of marketers and consumers alike see it as an excellent opportunity for a better relationship between companies and customers. Creating the ultimate user experience for a consumer benefits everyone.

 

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