Creating a personalization culture

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I worked in bars as a young adult.  I was a barback, then a brunch bartender and before long I was the head bartender, responsible for training, menus, inventory and the like.  At the time I didn’t realize it, but I was priming myself for customer experience through personalization.

Marketers are struggling with where to begin with personalization and how to best create digital experiences for their customers.  Brick and mortar stores figured this out a long time ago.  Those that took a customer service-centric approach created regulars, ambassadors and advocates.  They won with word of mouth, reputation and repeat business.  They did it by being conscious of their actions and listening to their customers.  They did it with people.

The culture that digital marketers need to create internally is one of people.  People helping people, not people selling people.  The legacy model of marketing is to up-sell, cross-sell and cold-sell. I look at food and beverage operations I go to personally, and the brands I frequent and talk about aren’t the ones where service is stale or scripted.  They are the ones where the people make the difference.  Where the thinking and approach to me is authentic, unobtrusive and familiar.  I don’t expect to be called by name everywhere I go, though it doesn’t hurt; what I respond well to is someone taking the time to explain something to me, or offering me a better value even when I don’t expect it.

A trend in wine tasting lately is to install machines which will pour out exact amounts of wine into a glass you ‘own’ & carry during your experience.  The descriptions are printed out, the tasting notes dry and not emotive in any way. This experience is hogwash.  In fact it is insulting.  Sure, those customers who arrive and simply want to ‘taste and bounce’ should be allowed to, but for most the opportunity to convey meaning to wine snobs, and loyalists of wine novices, is completely missed.     –on to page 2–