Monday, September 24, 2012

Targeting vs. Personalization

What is the difference between targeting and personalization?

Last week we got into a discussion over whether the mantra of CRM - right person, right channel, right time, etc. - was a question of targeting or one of personalization.  It is clear both ideas resonate in any consumer-centric marketing:   What do they actually mean?   Here's where I netted out:
  • Personalization - the use of content that the consumer should recognize as 'hers'.   This runs the gamut from contact information and preferences to product purchase history.   It is a subset of the whole idea of customization that includes selection of content that she might not recognize as hers, e.g. up-sell opportunities. 
  • Targeting - the identification of a group, and that includes the idea of a group of one, that should be managed and addresses as a single entity.  It offers the ability to alter the content delivered while still maintaining the ability to scale the solution.  In short, this is what one does with segmentation. 
Personalization is about content; targeting is about selection.

Now implementing either or both personalization and targeting requires an increase in dedicated resources to figure it out and implement.  So, it is still a matter of analysis as to whether or not this produces sufficient return on investment to warrant the costs involved.  

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