I recently came across an informative article written by Sean Rusinko in which he focused on the personalization of mass information to recipients from a customer perspective. Being in the business of mass information distribution I am of the opinion that many of the same principles could equally apply to internal employee communications.
In his recent post entitled: The Line Between Useful and Pushy Personalisation, Sean Rusinko focuses on important aspects that marketers need to take into account as regards personalisation of data.
Rusinko quotes a Janrain survey, stating that 74% of online customers are frustrated with the fact that content communicators don't do nearly enough to provide them with content that is personally meaningful, despite technology that can deliver a far more satisfying and personalised offering. From personal experience, this sentiment is identical to what many employees also feel.
As a consequence of this, and similar research findings, companies have come under increasing pressure to personalise both external and internal content offerings to a far greater extent than is currently the case.
With specific reference to customers, Rusinko warns that, unless managed properly, some personalisation attempts could backfire badly for organisations. This is because, despite the finding cited above, nearly two thirds of respondents felt uneasy about the kind and amount of information organisations hold about them which erodes brand trust.
In helping to get the balance right, Rusinko makes some relevant suggestions:
1. Companies need to understand the difference between implicit and explicit data and act accordingly. Implicit personalisation makes implications from a user's behaviour such as demographics based e.g. on IP addresses a person visits. These assumptions may or not be accurate. Explicit information, on the other hand is information that users volunteer by filling in forms, or in other ways. Whilst companies often use both implicit and explicit data, users are far more comfortable with the latter, as it is perceived as being more above board, and not 'sneaky.'
2. Don't be greedy. Companies should not ask for more information than they need. Your information request needs to be perceived as reasonable, relative to the purpose for which it is required. If this guideline is breached, much trust can be lost. Always ensure privacy protocols are in place, for both external and internal stakeholders.
3. Plan. Planning to personalise is an essential step prior to commencement. Essential areas to clarify are: who are you targeting, what information do you wish to acquire and why do you need it? How do you plan going about getting it, in what sequence, and over what time period, are all vital to the planning process. The use of analytical tools to segment, engage and track is greatly encouraged. Once you engage well and collaborate with your audience, they are far more likely to provide information of a more detailed nature and be more comfortable. Organisations should not simply personalise for its own sake but to attain very specific pre-established goals, irrespective of whether you are dealing with external or internal audiences.
5. Know what you are measuring and how. It's no use guessing whether or not your efforts to personalise are successful or not. Establish your goals and the best metrics to measure outcomes. Having benchmarks along the way is most valuable.
Having read Rusinko's post in relation to our experiences here at Mumba Cloud there is a clear link to enhancing personalisation within the workforce. Employees need to feel appreciated and most importantly, they only respond to information that is relevant to them. These same principles are universal and should be considered both with customers and employees.