Melissa Parrish, VP, Group Director

Show Notes:

Data-driven marketing was meant to be a win-win: Customers would receive more relevant messages, while marketers would gain efficiencies and better focus their efforts. But as marketing technology and personalization capabilities improved, customers became uneasy. Marketers, it seemed, knew a little too much about them.

At the root of the problem are flawed assumptions, Vice President and Group Director Melissa Parrish explains on this week’s What It Means. Marketers tend to believe that consumers want more precise targeting and more personalization — when, in fact, many prefer some level of anonymity. Consumers may see highly targeted or personalized messages as intrusive or even distressing, such as when targeted ads presume information about health status.

Fixing the problem requires no new technology or tactics. But it does require revisiting fundamental marketing assumptions. “When you’re collecting data about customers, they’re also telling you what they’re uncomfortable with,” Parrish says. Use those insights to refine your approach — for example, by creating a segment for customers who do not want personalization.

Looking ahead, closer alignment between marketing and customer experience teams may help marketers achieve greater customer centricity. Through that alignment, “the value that you’re giving to the customer becomes the guiding principle of the company,” Parrish says.