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Personalization: What we can learn from Pinterest, Coca Cola and Spotify

While personalization is a powerful tool companies can use to break through the clutter, companies walk a thin line between intrusive and helpful if they don’t ensure that it will enhance the overall user experience. With customer privacy concerns on the rise, businesses must proceed with caution when navigating through the wonders of personalization.

Learn about push notification personalization best practices with examples from companies like Netflix, Lyft and Wayfair in our free Push Notification Guide!

How to get it right

1. Understand your customers first

Pinterest made the mistake of congratulating their single users on their wedding. They understood personalization would increase engagement, but they jumped the gun and didn’t understand the context their own users were utilizing their product in. What Pinterest missed was that the users saved the wedding content out of leisure, not actual planning purposes.

Brands need to sit back and listen to their customers’ intentions first. The better you understand how your user interacts with you, the easier it will be to determine what should be personalized and how.

2. Ensure that your personalization ADDS value to your customer

When Coca Cola first came out with their “Share a Coke” campaign, Australia millennials were thrilled to find their own name on the bottles. The campaign was such a success, they were able to increase their sales which had been stagnant for 4 years, and expanded personalization worldwide. Why did this work so well for Coca Cola? It created excitement and added value to the customer, plain and simple. This is where testing and timed rollouts can be used to gauge consumer reactions to such changes within the company, specifically to your personalization techniques. Here are some examples of A/B tests that you can run to understand HOW to add value to your customers.

3. Pay Attention to consumer behavior

Crafting the perfect algorithm for predicting consumer behavior will not get you the results you are looking for. The best we have is actual customer feedback. Consumer behaviour is not a perfect science, therefore testing and analyzing customer feedback is a must. Those at Spotify have understood the importance of customer feedback and constantly use it to iterate and improve their Discover Weekly feature. Taking note of which songs users save and registering songs skipped within 30 seconds as a thumbs down, Spotify uses these interactions as triggers to make their technology smarter. By constantly refining their suggestions by taking into account all the user data from these interactions, they are able to provide personalization that better reflects the individual customer. Taking cues from Spotify, companies should be taking a data-driven approach to keep up with customers needs. Facebook is another company that utilizes customer feedback to improve their product.

As these leaders have demonstrated, in order to be the hero and add value to your customers, you need to observe and listen to them first. So go be the hero and know that data and testing can be your greatest strength.