"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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