How to make personalization never creepy and always useful

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Personalization is a fantastic way to get people the right content at the right time. That can, of course, also help us as businesses tie them to us as customers.

It sounds so simple in theory but it’s really hard in practice and plenty of companies are struggling with doing that exact thing.

They spray and pray, or serve content at the wrong time or it’s not really personalization and just a wild guess.

And when we are serv personalize content at the wrong time it can actually feel quite creepy. We – the consumers – weren’t expecting it and it wasn’t helpful and it just felt kind of yucky. If you’re feeling yucky that is not a good customer experience.

Google Flights and personalization

So I was somewhat surprised after having used Google Flights to book most of my travel-about 100,000 or so miles in the air per year-that Google finally sent me an email letting me know about my upcoming trip to Boston.

It was the first time that Google send me such an email-at least that I remember-but it was a nice surprise. Here are some things that I could do on my trip. On my Boston trip it’s not like that I have time to actually do them since it’s a business trip but it’s still nice to see the temperature and other related information.

The email also alerted me of the Google Trips app, which I had not heard of before but which sounded intriguing because it would serve me all kinds of useful information about upcoming trips: what to do and those kind of things.

It’s actually not a new app, but it is certainly new to me. The Points Guy has a long article detailing all the different features over here.

But it’s a great example for us marketers who are struggling with personalization and content creators to fill personalization needs.

The email came to me at an opportune time and before a trip with my nine-year-old to Europe. As you might imagine, it’s quite a challenge to figure out what to do on a trip and also to know when certain places are open. This app now has everything in one place and even makes recommendations for me.

And then when I’m in the app I can quickly click on directions and that will open in the Google Maps app. So it’s a highly integrated tool.

Personalization and software

Of course, there are several tools out there and I won’t endorse one or the other for integration of personalization of content but serving customers relevant content and experiences at the right time is really helpful in binding those customers to us.

Technology helps us implement this.

In the case of Google, I can’t even imagine not going to Google Flights to look for a flight. And now-depending on how well the app works-there’s a chance it will be hard for me to not go on a trip without using the app for my free time to explore.

We did talk about personalization to improve the customer experience in our customer focused book. Take a look here.

So how does Google constantly delight me with these personalized experience is? They keep in mind what I actually need and want at a specific time. Of course that email wouldn’t be highly relevant if it was sent way too early and the app mentioned wouldn’t be relevant if I didn’t have any trips planned. And then of course the app would be irrelevant if it didn’t actually work. I haven’t tried it too much yet but at first glance it seems to be a nice addition to my travels.

So in conclusion, as a digital marketer make personalization and useful content work for you and make it part of your digital marketing strategy. When done well it’s a huge differentiator.