The downside of personalization

There are many tools these days that marketers use to create individualized experiences for their customers. Even if you don’t realize it, you’re often getting offers in your email or when you visit websites that are dynamic and personalized just for you.

Those offers are determined by your past web browing behavior, your past purchases or other information that a company may have on you.

Meanwhile, people are concerned that the country is getting more polarized. People are getting more set in their opinions and more tunnel-visioned in their likes and dislikes. Marketers like Seth Godin often talk about how technology is making it easier to find tribes of like-minded people – no matter what the unifying subject may be.

But is this a positive for society?

As we all receive recommendations, offers and other content that is determined and reinforced by our past behavior, we get less exposure to ideas, book, movies and music that challenge our ideas or change the way we think.

With personalization, we all get bombarded with what is essentially more of the same. Music that sounds like the music we already have. Books about subjects we’ve already covered. Movies that are just like the ones we’ve already seen. And most important, ideas that are just like the ideas you and your friends comfortably share and discuss.

Personalization is certainly good for marketers who are interested in building customer relations and selling more goods, but I sometimes wonder if while it’s creating smaller tribes, it’s also creating greater divisions.

This entry was posted in general thoughts, marketing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply