Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Personalization and the bottom end of the scale

I'm a big fan of increasing relevance through carefully personalized content. The more that is known about an individual with whom you are going to communicate, the more you can target a message that captures their attention and pushes them forward.

This insight into the individual can be based on their digital body language, but it can also be based on their interaction with your software if you happen to be a software company. The insight provided through looking at software usage patterns can be among the most powerful, as you can build highly relevant content, based on very specific knowledge of an individual - in context of your application.

Many of today's social networking systems have leveraged this beautifully, with communications about visits, friends, comments, and activities that compel the recipient to remain engaged and deepen their usage profile.

However, in doing so, it's critical to set things up for the bottom end of usage that recognizes lack of usage as a pattern, and caters to it.

As an example of this, the screenshot is from an email of this type that I received. I don't have anything bad to say about Naymz, and many people I know use the service. I just don't happen to use it myself - I set up a profile, but never really adopted it. However, the personalization I receive is clearly targeted at amplifying my usage. If I saw 25 visits to my profile in the last week, I might be tempted to dive in a bit further, however with 0 visits, I'm pushed in the opposite direction.

In setting up the personalization systems that we all use, the temptation is there to focus on the highly engaged, and amplify their engagement. Whether it is with product trials, education, or event attendance, we're all tempted to focus on this keen minority, as they are the most fun. However, in doing so, there's a risk we might alienate those who are not yet engaged.

How do you cater your personalization to the non-engaged? What have you seen that worked well in identifying and re-engaging this end of the spectrum?
Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
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