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2015 is the year of the sheep. And of personalization.

2015 is the year of the sheep. And of personalization.

2015 is the year of the sheep, according to the Chinese zodiac. And it’s also the year of personalization, according to several authors (DeGiovanni, Holobach, Ballance, Shandwick). The imagery of too many merchants treating their consumers like sheep is compelling. Chinese New Year was only a few weeks ago so marketers should make a resolution to stop treating their customers like sheep.

Too often, we consumers feel like we are just another one, an invisible consumer, a sheep. What we really want is to feel like we are the one, the only. Even just a little different would be fine. Consumer oneness is the core of personalization.

Personalization is hard. There are so many sheep that need to be categorized that most marketers simply give in to batch and blast email marketing. Of course, the sheep metaphor is demeaning to consumers but even more demeaning is for marketers to treat us like sheep.

Consumer personalization is hard because of the almost infinite number of individual differences between consumers. Trying to solve for infinity is intractable – a boil-the-ocean problem. Any sales pitch from a personalization product supplier promising ‘the’ solution is simply false.

Marketers should focus on a bite-sized personalization problem to start with, and expand or change as solutions reveal their efficacy. Moreover, this approach reduces costs, risks and provides flexibility and adaptability. What would be your choice of message to the C-suite; “We’re locked in to this solution,” or, “We’re adapting as we go”? Your efficacy as a marketer is closely aligned to your tenure with the firm.

Capturing actionable data about consumers is the marketer’s Holy Grail. Primary data where information about a consumer is generated by and shared by the consumers themselves is invaluable compared to secondary scraped data sources. Battlefield data is always superior to boardroom data. Primary data directly from a consumer implies that the consumer is in control. Give consumers direct control over their own information and the sheep become wolves. This is a big-time move up the food chain for a marketer.

The Dodoname consumer Persona is designed to provide marketers with primary data. In Dodoname, the consumer is motivated to provide this information because of the inherent reward structure built into the system. Dodoname guarantees the privacy of the consumer with the currency for that privacy being the completion of their Persona. It’s a win-win for the sheep turned to wolf consumers because they can “Get the stuff they want without revealing who they are.”

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