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Personalizing Your Customer’s Online Experience

Michael Brenner makes a point that digital marketers often dismiss: staying clear of creepy while using tech to personalize a customer’s online experience around a product or service.

Personalization is great. But should it mean unleashing digital tech on customers as though you’re saddling a superbike down NYC’s 5th Avenue in top gear? You don’t want to be remembered for not having known how to control the tremendous power at your fingertips. As Elyse Dupre explains, for many marketers, it’s a hit-or-miss before they reach the sweet spot. Personalization’s great. But only if you’re wise about how you control the powerful technology of digital marketing.  

Wise marketing 

Wise marketers are gentle. Today, customers prefer interacting with the products and services they like, before making their purchasing decisions. And the rapid strides digital marketing technology has made enable marketers to capture a customer’s online experience, instantly predict what she would probably like, and display to her a range of offerings allied with what she was looking at, to start with. 

The best of digital marketers engage the customer in a conversation. Their finesse in personalizing customer experience is as much about technology as it is about ethics. 

Anticipating customer needs 

Great marketers anticipate what the customer needs, and before she asks for it, hand the product or service to her. Wise marketing leaves the customer feeling special and asking for more. 

That sort of marketing is based on two principles: the primacy and the autonomy of the customer. 

What do you think lies behind this paradigm shift? 

Two principles 

The principle of primacy, which is founded on the value that the customer comes first. She takes center stage. Without her, the marketer’s existence would have no meaning. She takes the lead, while the marketer stands in the wings, waiting to help. The customer knows what she wants. It’s just that she hasn’t decided how to get it. And the marketer is a facilitator. 

So the marketer suggests the best option – the option that’s best for the customer, not the marketer – and offers to help the customer resolve the issue. Both customer and marketer close on a win-win, if the customer experiences a high degree of comfort with the proposed solution. This is the principle of autonomy, which grants the customer the right to accept or reject the marketer’s offer. 

Winning the customer over 

Marketing that’s effective in the long run is a memorable relationship between marketer and customer. It lasts. I’ve decided never to look at it as a mere transaction because it’s always a trail of experiences I leave behind even if I engage with my customer just once. It’s not about winning or losing an order, but winning the relationship. Marketing that lasts is a memorable relationship that creates a trail of positive experiences for the customer. 

But before I hear the horse laughs (“Yeah, right, keep losing the orders but focus on the relationship”), let me add that marketing’s taught me how you can win the relationship – and the orders. 

Just buy me the coffee, and let’s trade the ideas. The donut’s on me.