One Reason Personalization Fails? Customer Journey Mismanagement

Originally Published in CMS Wire

Written by Mark Smith


Late last year, Gartner came out with a somewhat surprising prediction. Analysts said that within the next five years, a full 80% of marketers will drop their personalization efforts. After years of buzz hyping personalization as the key to building meaningful connections with customers, the fact that four out of five marketers will ditch the practice speaks volumes about the mileage brands are getting out of such efforts.

Lack of demonstrable ROI, Gartner reports, is one factor driving this change, along with data management problems, including problems with data collection, integration and protection. Together these issues have fueled a growing sense of disillusionment around much-hyped personalization initiatives.

Personalization isn’t inherently flawed or ineffective as a general practice. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, when executed correctly. We’ve seen over and over again that contextually appropriate personalized experiences can be successful. And we are hardly alone. Accenture found that a full 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations. In other words, personalization, done right, can lead to exactly the kinds of outcomes marketers want.

That being said, it’s easy to get personalization wrong. One way companies get it wrong involves misalignment between customer expectations and execution. In some cases, companies make experiences too personal, and end up creeping out the customer (the age-old example here is when Target began sending coupons for baby items to a teen girl before her family knew she was pregnant). In others, companies don’t personalize experiences when they easily could, by forcing return customers to re-enter payment data, for example.


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