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Why Personalization Matters

by Chris O'Leary  |  
March 5, 2001

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column called The Trouble with Advertising. The response to this column was interesting, to say the least. It was also extremely divided.

On the one hand, I received a ton of mail and a great deal of recognition from people who agreed with what I said. It seems that many people hold a similar opinion but have not seen it published widely before.

On the other hand, the advertising industry came after me. They accused me of making unsubstantiated claims. While it wasn't an Oprah versus the Cattlemen kind of battle (although I kind of wish it was, given the potential publicity), it was pretty interesting. It seems that the advertising industry has a problem with anyone criticizing their medium.

Hey, it's a big industry and there's a lot of money at stake.

The advertising industry has sent me research to try to sway me, but I am not moved. I don't agree with their first premise - "Everyone advertises, and since you are going to advertise, here is how you should spend your money."

I think that in many cases you shouldn't advertise at all.

I also don't feel that the industry has good research that advertising works. What I have seen is too full of the phrases "may" and "it is possible". The research that I have done on my own has also strengthened my convictions.

So what do you do if you don't accept the premise that you will advertise? What do you do? How do you spend your money?

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Chris O'Leary ( is an eBusiness strategist for Cambridge Technology Partners (

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