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Avoid These Four Personalization Mistakes

July 26, 2011  

"Whether it's a story recommendation on NYTimes.com, song suggestions on Pandora, or search results on Google, online personalization has become ubiquitous, shifting consumer expectations toward anticipating more targeted Web experiences from their favorite online brands," writes Carlos Carvajal at the CMO.com blog. It's not difficult to create the personalized experience visitors expect—but marketers tend to undermine its effectiveness with rookie mistakes like these:

They pay more attention to customer profiles than to actual intent. If you observe a new visitor's movement through your site—the searches she makes, the pages she clicks on, where she spends her time—you'll find "intent clues" that carry far more meaning than profile data alone.

They depend on rules rather than customer insight. A manually administered "if they do this, give them that" approach can be difficult to configure and maintain, and is often abandoned for simplified alternatives like displaying the most popular products. Instead, recommends Carvajal, "Deploy recommendation engines and other technologies that will automatically adapt to changing customer insights to generate the best content for each interaction based on intent clues."


They limit personalization to your website instead of expanding to all digital channels. Customers use a number of venues to interact with your brand—including mobile, email and social media. It makes no sense to silo personalization strategies at your website when opportunities exist elsewhere.

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Comments

  • by New Movement Media Tue Jul 26, 2011 via web

    I agree that the keywords people use to get to your site can be some of the best information that you can get in regards to your online analytics.

  • by Nick Stamoulis Wed Jul 27, 2011 via web

    "The search term that brings someone to your site is the clearest intent clue available"

    Couldn't have said it better myself! User intent is so important for SEO and for personalization. If you don't understand the "why" of someone's actions, how can you give them a custom experience?

  • by Neal Amsden Wed Jul 27, 2011 via web

    It's not mentioned, but Carlos Carvajal (author) is VP of Marketing here at Baynote -- we have a free eBook that describes these 4 mistakes and 4 more common ones we've seen in personalization deployments. You can download a copy from the resources section of our web site at baynote.com.

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