Avoid These Personalization Mistakes to Save Your Relationship (With Your Customers)

Valentine’s Day is the ultimate celebration of Personalization (and crass capitalism). Consumer companies would be well advised to avoid common mistakes oft repeated by consumers themselves on the day Hallmark made for us out of the delicious creamy nougat center of their hearts.

Stoplight Roses and Generic Discounts

You obviously put no effort, thought or planning into this purchase. You panicked into error and instead of winning favor with something really special, you invited scorn for your lack of imagination among other things.

Valentine’s Day is no surprise. It’s the same date every year. While most consumer engagements are not annual (thankfully), most of them are very predictable. The customer comes to your website five times, always drilling down on the same product. She checks inventory levels in “Dusty Rose”.  She puts that product in-cart on your app, but doesn’t complete the purchase.

What product do you suppose you should offer to get her to consummate the deal? Probably, the Dusty Rose one, right? But with what additional incentive? Well, that depends. In the past she has not been particularly discount sensitive. She does seem to react well to Status and Tier promotions that get her early access to new inventory before the regular population. Start there and see where it goes. That would seem to be the much better option than some generic 10% for everyone for you (less discounting) and her (likes what she likes very specifically).


Familiarity Breeds Contempt and Customer Engagement Fatigue

And contempt is not the emotion you’re going for on this day in particular.

So when you hand over the same box of chocolates you bought her last year, and the year before, and the one before that…but she doesn’t get that imaginary fluttering hearts apparition above her head, it might not be that she doesn’t like chocolates, she’s just bored with them.

I think many of us in Marketing are guilty of ‘riding the winners’ a little too much. Something “works” so you keep doing it. The problem is, most people fatigue of things they like or even love if they’re so common and frequent as to become routine or even cliche worst case.

So if you’re giving your consumers the same experiences you’ve always given, freshen it up some. And whatever you do, don’t give them something they just purchased– particularly at a better price than they paid.

Engagement that creates the right kind of sparks begins with a deep understanding of what past engagements have looked like. What have you done historically and how was that received? What engagements were opened? Acted upon? Redeemed? At what profitability? Combine that with what the customer is doing right now. If she has “hinted” through her activities that you should get THE RED DRESS, and she’s currently reading reviews of THE RED DRESS, please do not offer her chocolates or any other thing than what she’s telling you she wants. Chocolates either means you’re not paying attention or you don’t care what she wants. Either could be relationship killers.

Long-Term (Customer) Relationships

When you really take the time to try to deliver the kinds of experiences that make customers more satisfied, profitable and loyal (if not swooning), they’ll really appreciate it. “It’s the thought that counts” is both trite and true. Even if they don’t purchase at that exact moment, you’ve laid the foundation of future success. You’ve demonstrated you ‘get it’.

But more often than not it does work. And when preparation meets opportunity… love is in the air.