We already addressed the issue of irrelevant personalized content. Although the intentions are good, this only leads to irritation amongst customers. So, how do you make sure your marketing communications are relevant on a personal level and satisfying for your customers?
Let’s illustrate this and take a look at Harry and his relationship with Booking.com. Harry enjoys a backpacking vacation about twice a year. His airline ticket is the only thing he arranges in advance. He likes his freedom and doesn’t exactly know where he’s going to be at any given point during his trip, so he books accommodations just a few days ahead.
In the classical use of personalized ads, Harry would encounter ads promoting accommodations weeks after he visited a particular area. Although Booking.com has a detailed purchase history and the knowledge that Harry won’t visit the same destination twice, this information isn’t used for their personalization of marketing communications. However, from his purchase history we can learn a lot about Harry’s holiday preferences, for example:
Preferred vacation type: backpacking destinations outside of Europe
Preferred destinations: Sri Lanka, Peru, Thailand
Preferred accommodation type: hostels
Preferred location: within 2 kilometers range from city center
Facilities: swimming pool and bar
Preferred price range: 20-60 euro a night
And much more…
Using this information, Booking.com could be of added value to Harry, even when he’s not actually going to book a vacation. All year round they can offer inspiring content of destinations on which he can base his next trip.
For example, Booking.com can inspire Harry with content about destinations that could be relevant, based on what destinations people similar to Harry have visited in the past. In the next step, analysis of the click behavior on this suggested content provides a lot of information about Harry’s current interests.
This provides a clear picture of Harry’s preferences. Now Harry’s preferences are more clear, in-depth content can be shared to further guide Harry through his decision process. During the time of the year Harry usually books his accommodations, personal recommendations can be given based on the available information about Harry.