Why making personalisation assumptions is a bad idea


If introduced and executed in the right way, personalised content marketing materials can bring about numerous benefits, from improving customer relationships and increasing retention to boosting bottom-line conversions.

Even though most brands will be well aware of these advantages, only 19 per cent of marketers are actually using personalisation according to Econsultancy research. However, those who are capitalising on personalisation need to be wary of certain pitfalls too.

One of which is making too many assumptions about the end-user. Just because two separate prospects share the same location and interests doesn’t mean to say they want the same thing.

For this reason, personalisation needs to go further than basic generalisations and must include customisation too.

The problem with assumptions

It is all well and good believing that your brand or business can deliver tailor-made content to your audience, which addresses their wants and needs but also appears on their preferred platforms or devices. If you do so, then the perks of purchasing your products or services will be clear to see and you can enjoy a great deal of online prosperity.

Unfortunately, it isn’t this straightforward, as a number of online users do not like it when organisations adopting these practices draw such definite conclusions. Aside from intrusive content, this is what makes UK Internet users think less of a brand the most, according to a March 2015 survey from YouGov, commissioned by digital media agency One Two Four.

In fact, 43 per cent of respondents said “content that assumes things about me” would negatively affect their opinion of a brand. It even ranked higher than “content that doesn’t match my interests” and “irrelevant content to my lifestyle.”

The reasons why online users don’t like assumptions

Dig a little bit deeper into the subject of personalisation assumptions and you come across some truly revealing data about online user opinion. In November 2014, Redshift Research for Teradata and Celebrus Technologies looked at the reasons why people disliked personalisation messages, offers, and updates from brands.

In the UK, the results were as follows:

  • They send me too much spam email – 47 per cent
  • I don’t like it when ads follow me around the web – 42 per cent
  • They suggest things that are of no specific interest to me – 41 per cent
  • I’d rather find what I want for myself – 35 per cent

To rectify some of these issues, brands can drop retargeting efforts or reassess the nature of email campaign content. But more than anything else, these statistics demonstrate that online users don’t like it when they have no direct influence on what content appears in front of them.

So, a much more logical solution would be to give your audience the ability to control their own content destiny, which can be achieved through customisation.

Adopting customisation alongside personalisation

For some, personalisation and customisation mean the same thing. However, personalisation refers to the content a brand creates based on audience data, whereas customisation is when the user actively decides what they receive or consume.

In many respects, social media is a form of customisation, as you decide who to follow, what to see, and receive updates according to these preferences. But how can you introduce this kind of power and authority from a content perspective?

Well, with Matizmo’s dynamic personalised solution, we give your audience the opportunity to customise the content they receive. After filling out a few fields relating to things like company size and industry sector, they will be provided with a highly relevant piece of content. At the same time, this gives you greater insight into your target market and better sales intelligence as well.

As a result, there is no need to assume things about your audience ever again.