As the newest member of the Tahzoo team, I learned quickly that creating personalized customer experiences is something that my new employer excels in. But, wearing my “newbie” hat, I got to thinking – is it possible to take personalization even further?
Every marketer today understands the value of Predictive Personalization, also referred to as “Digital Hospitality”– or the ability to predict consumer behavior based on their previous online actions. While marketing trends usually come and go, Predictive Personalization is one of the most significant trends in marketing and advertising, and its popularity is only rising. It involves observing implicit behavior, or the types of activity a consumer engages in online, and using those observations to determine the likelihood of future explicit behavior. The latter can include making an online purchase, filling out a contact form, spending a certain amount of time on a given web page, or a number of other desirable actions.
But, I found myself wondering how far we should take analytics to create individual experiences. At what point does gathering and analysis of personal information stop being useful to the consumer and enter the realm of Big Brother?
With the advanced technology available to marketers today, analytics is much more than simple data collection and dashboards. Predictive modeling enables behavioral segmentation, which is actionable not only through marketing but also in content design. Analytics opens up a huge opportunity to build personal website experiences that are based on how the visitor uses the website. But, we need to ask ourselves ‘do visitors really want websites that adapt and predict the outcome of their visit?’
From a marketer’s perspective, the observations that can be gleaned from Predictive Personalization are vast, but using that data is risky because consumers are still wary of targeted ads and marketing that knows too much about them. According to a JWT Intelligence survey, nearly two-thirds of consumers feel uneasy about the information companies have about them. The average user doesn’t want to be watched, tracked and analyzed as they browse the web.
However, the majority of those surveyed also said that they don’t mind being tracked as long as they receive something in return. These potential benefits need to be tangible. Like having related offers and relevant products show up in their inbox or in the ads served on content they already read, savings on desired items, or otherwise having their online shopping made easier and cheaper. As long as the consumer’s concerns are mitigated with an understanding about how giving up their data will improve their lives, Predictive Personalization will be viewed in a positive light, as opposed to a potential problem or privacy issue.
Predictive Personalization is one of those rare advertising tactics that offers nearly equal benefits to both the consumer and the brand. And, it’s clear that this trend will only continue to boom in the coming year. Savvy marketers need to learn how to balance the needs of the consumer with their own. By making sure they’re offering something of value in return for gathering personal data, marketers can ensure that they’re using Predictive Analytics for everyone’s benefit—and aren’t thought of as Big Brother.
Learn more about personalization in our free webinar, So You Want To Get Personal? Tuesday, October 7 at 1p EST. Register today!