The companies and communicators who are personalizing are winning. Tailoring your message for a specific audience isn’t anything new. Even though they weren’t familiar with the terms data collection or predictive analytics, Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero all had things to say about personalization. Namely, that it’s important.

In his research and work on personalization, Dr. Scott Brave says, “The goal of personalization is to provide customers with interactive experiences tailored to optimally satisfy their individual needs.” In our next two blogs, we’ll explore the concept of personalization which is at the same time both ancient and cutting edge. Today, we’ll get into some of the ethics and trends surrounding this field. And tomorrow, we’ll cover the importance of a name and how you can use personalization in presentations.

The Ethics of Data Collection

In order to personalize your marketing, you need to collect data from your customers, right? But data collection can be a sensitive topic. You may have heard that Target uses analytics to predict whether a woman is pregnant by studying her purchases. This information allows them to send customized marketing materials like coupons. But by sending a maternity mailer to the house of a pregnant high schooler, Target disclosed their customer’s pregnancy to her father prior to her telling him.

While this is an isolated case, data collection should be used responsibly. We should always have an eye to the potential harm it may cause customers. Studies show that “more than 60% of online users wanted to know why, what, and how [companies and web sites] select content personalized for them.” This means we need to be transparent in our collecting methods. And we need to offer customers control over how much they share. CMO by Adobe says, “Control is critical to consumer acceptance of personalization.” As long as you are collecting and using the information you receive from your customers ethically and transparently, data collection can provide great benefits to both your company and your customers.

Predictive Analytics

Today, many of us simply assume that companies are accessing and using our online and in-store information. A study by Accenture addresses the trends of online banking which show that younger generations tend to know and trust that companies will use their information to provide them with customized shopping experiences. And it’s not just that they trust companies to provide them with personalized marketing. They have come to expect it as the norm.

Writer for The New York Times Charles Duhigg says, “Almost every major retailer, from grocery chains to investment banks to the U.S. Postal Service, has a ‘predictive analytics’ department devoted to understanding not just consumers’ shopping habits but also their personal habits, so as to more efficiently market to them.” If you aren’t using predictive analytics to personalize content and services for your customers, you might be falling behind the curve.

So we’ve covered some of the ethics behind personalization marketing. We’ve also talked about the move toward both acceptance and expectation of personalized content. Tomorrow we’ll continue our discussion of personalization. We’ll explore the power of a name along with some tips to make your presentations more personalized.

At Ethos3, we believe that any communication designed with the audience in mind is more effective. We’re here to help you maximize your communication.

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