Technology is now at such a place where when we get an email or see an ad, we assume that there is some reason that we are seeing it. We all know that email open rates and time spent reading pages can be tracked. Consumers understand that their interaction history on a website can be used to recommend products and content. But, when I look under the hood, I am often surprised how little tracking is actually being done. When I look across the landscape of user experiences on the web, as well as many digital campaigns, all I see wasted opportunity.
I am the kind of person that looks at the HTML of every digital touch point on the consumer journey. It is disappointing to me when I see a missed opportunity for content personalization. Like any other consumer, I expect emails to be relevant to me. I know that every company I interact with is storing data about my interactions. It seems like such a waste of IT resources to store so much data on users only to send them the same bulk generic messages. I’m not turned off by ads that work, I’m turned off by the ones that don’t.
I hate to see ad campaigns are focusing on personalized messaging strategies, and then not execute on them. We have all seen ads that show the components of segmentation and personalization. You see them everywhere, often in multiple forms. I might see an ad that targets a single mother only to later see the same ad framed for a rural family. The problem is not that these advertisers are trying to personalize their messages, but that I was the one who saw them. I should never have seen either of those ads. The advertiser’s money was wasted on me. The whole point of personalization is to reach out to customers with value propositions that they connect with and relate to and to gauge the success of that message to encourage purchase decisions.
Perhaps the best quote about advertising in general is attributed to John Wanamaker: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” With today’s level of data and the technology, this adage should no longer hold water. Enterprise experience systems provide the ability to know exactly which half is wasted and which is successful. Every digital channel, from tweets to web content to email campaigns, have tools that allow business leaders to know exactly what is working and what isn’t. Not knowing is a failure of execution, not technology.
What remains for most companies is to integrate their communication strategy consistently into every touch point on the customer journey—web, social, email, mobile, CRM, etc. This is your customer experience. This is your brand. Your customers know that you know something about them, they expect you to learn about them, and they are comfortable with you using that information in positive ways to improve their customer experience. How you respond will be critical to the future of your company. Like many things, however, getting it wrong can be worse than doing nothing at all, so execution is everything.