Is the ‘End of Personalization’ an Opportunity for SMBs?

This press release yesterday from Gartner really struck me. Gartner is contending that the era of personalization will end by 2025. It further argues that while personalization may have arrived some time ago, it did so in a flawed fashion.

In the release, Gartner analyst (and my high school friend) Charles Golvin notes that marketers have relied on data to fuel their personalization efforts for years, and the consequences of this data aggregation and mining are considerable.

Golvin contends that, “Consumers have developed an increasingly jaundiced eye toward marketers’ efforts to embrace them. Their increasingly cluttered email inboxes and mobile phone notification centers may lead them to ignore even the most carefully personalized and contextualized message. Marketers must really adopt the basics when it comes to test and learn before investing in personalization technology and new tactics.”

So this got me thinking. Maybe this is a door local businesses can pry open to their advantage.

Can my local dry cleaner send me a personalized message (text or email) to let me know my suit is ready for pick-up? Absolutely. Can that same dry cleaner send me a message that he’s got a promotion on cleaning sleeping bags? For sure.

Perhaps the local pizza place is better able to leverage personalization than Domino’s. After all, the local pizza place can link a promotion to a local school or local organization that is authentic and unique to its community. I really don’t see Papa Murphy’s pulling this off.

Gartner’s pronouncement also made me wonder what marketers will do next to get my attention.

My jaundiced eye sees email after email from national brands trying to connect with me. Sure, they can use my name and refer to something I’ve searched for on the web or on their site. But is this authentic? Is it transparent? I’m skeptical.

I am certain that if the big national marketers are turning away from personalization as Golvin suggests, then perhaps it is time for local business owners to find even better ways to create authentic, personalized messages to their best customers and prospects.

Maybe, just maybe this is an opportunity for local businesses to level a playing field that too often feels imbalanced in favor of the largest, best-funded marketers.

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