After spending many years as the VP of Marketing at one of the leading personalization technology providers, I have a pretty good understanding of the benefits and limitations of personalization. And while there are very clear advantages for retailers that adopt a well-designed personalization strategy, I worry about the personalization bubble that has been created. There is irrational exuberance in the marketplace today, an almost mystical belief in the impact that personalization technology will have on a business.
Messages from analysts and thought leaders are fueling this fire. Here are excerpts from an email I just received promoting an upcoming analyst webinar on personalization—sound familiar?
“Personalization is being redefined as individualization—structuring interaction, functionality, and content around the real time individual needs of customers.”
“Discover why individualization, not segmentation, is becoming the new standard for personalization.”
The implication is that with the right technology investments, brands won’t need to do any heavy lifting in marketing. They won’t need to dig deep to understand the differences across customer segments, they won’t need to develop personas, and they won’t need creative breakthroughs to propel their business. Just leave it to the algorithms to crunch the customer data and deliver the perfect message to each consumer at just the right moment. Sounds like magic, right?
As my mother always said, “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, unless it’s me.”