Monthly Archives: December 2011

Is personalization bad?

I received this video today from a friend, the 3rd time it has been passed on to me, so I felt inclined to share it. On a side note, I believe it was sent to me because I am a major supporter of personalization.

So, we all get personalized search results, which should be more relevant to us, right? I agree that there should probably be a button you can toggle on and off, but I would venture to guess that, given the option, most would opt to have the filter on. The grass is always greener, and we constantly dream about how great things could be. Things are amazing, and the solution the video is talking about (unfiltered search results) is for a fringe case. Don’t forget how things have changed in 10 years. Wasn’t the downfall of Yahoo because Google offered something Yahoo had forgotten about focusing on — relevant search?

Should Amazon do away with its personalization, too, so that we don’t actually get recommendations that show statistically what we are really interested in? I often joke that I buy everything from Amazon because I bought one thing from the company and it told me everything else I needed to buy. This was a depressing thought at first because I realized I wasn’t as unique as I thought I was. There are copies of Brandon Proctor everywhere, and some haven’t progressed as far as I have and others have progressed far beyond my current standing. I took solace in the thought that I was probably the most attractive of these copies, which still made me a very unique Brandon Proctor.

Personalization is not something to reject or to shy away from because nine out of 10 times, it is exactly what you were looking for. I do agree we need to open up Pandora’s box so that people have the option of unfiltered search results, but I also believe that once it is opened, 95% of the people out there will close it again. Hmm — or maybe it is the 99% (wink).

There you have it —  that kind of access to knowledge would only be reserved for the 1%. In fact, I am sure Google already has the button at the ready and will offer it up at the right price.

What they taught you in school was wrong. 1 + 1 = 3.

One of the most important lessons in online marketing is the realization that if 1+1=2, then you may have failed. Everything we track must have a purpose, and typically that purpose is to combine that metric with another metric to give us the business action we desire. Metrics should be created with the anticipation that they will spawn other meaningful metrics for the business. The days of “I think” this was a good campaign because sales seem to have gone up are over. We are in the age of data-driven marketing, where the data doesn’t lie but it does tell us if the marketer is. The new black for companies is in their ability to properly measure their success and failures. This pursuit to know the “why” is an endless one because as you continue to dive deeper, you realize that the original answer has now multiplied into 10 smaller possibilities. The continuous desire to acquire the answers will keep you from stagnation and complacency. Every marketing decision you make today should have a cost-benefit analysis at the ready to justify the business case. No metric or report should be collected or created without an action in mind that justifies its existence. We live in a data-rich world; it is about time we start acting like it.