What Gautama Buddha was for self-actualization and realization, one of the leading US retailers has been for web personalization.
After a personalized marketing activity that invoked customer backlash due to privacy concerns, the organization has started going back in its personalization journey. Though it still possesses the capability of precisely targeting its audience at a 1:1 level, it has now taken consumer behavior into account and has moved to intelligent targeting. Random offers are clubbed with personalized offers to avoid alarming customers and raising privacy issues.
The idea is to act intelligently without being too intrusive and serve customers in a personalized manner without spying on them. Nobody wants to be stalked!
Every time we move in this digital world, we leave imprints of our behavioral data which can be rich source of insights for organizations to understand us better. The better they understand us, the better they can target and sell personalized products and services to us. Behavioral science, habit formation and cultural understanding has always been a subject area for marketers but only now is it finding increased relevance in the Digital Customer Experience Arena.
So the question arises - How do you as an organization, harness someone’s online habits and behavioral data without letting them feel like their privacy is at stake?
This is a path to be treaded cautiously. Even though customers provide both explicit and implicit cues about themselves, this data is of no value if we cannot harness it. So, organizations need to differentiate between good and bad data.
Good data is where a customer gives you explicit permission to collect data about herself (i.e. email opt-ins, permission to view browsing history through cookie etc.) while bad data is buying 3rd party data and collecting data without customer consent which can be damaging to brand equity of an organization due to blacklisting and spam instances.
The goal should not be to achieve -“not so elusive Nirvana in personalization”, but to maintain a healthy balance while doing so. It can only be achieved by leveraging and extracting insights from good data with explicit permissions.
The key to success lies in Being Intelligent, Not Intrusive.
What do you think about this dilemma being faced by organizations? I would be happy to hear from you.