Closing The CX Gap With PX: Where Personalization Misses The Mark

Published: March 1, 2020

1MK GetlerReal talk: We haven’t strayed very far from our knuckle-dragging days.

I mean, it’s hard to tell — with our smartphones and upright posture — but neurological research has confirmed that our primal functions are just as important, if not more so than our evolved cortex functions.

Full disclosure, I’m not a neuroscientist — more of a nerd with a fascination of neurology and psychology. This natural curiosity has sparked my interest in how and why people make the decisions they do.

For example: Think of a time when you made an impulse decision. It could have been the time you opted to eat candy for dinner (#adulting) or that time you had a “gut feeling” you were holding the winning scratch ticket. In those moments, your primal systems were completely overriding your modern cortex.

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Our modern cortex functions give us the ability to rationalize and build logic into our decision-making. Our primal cortex functions jerk the wheel and throw sound decision-making off the rails. By opting to eat candy over a salad for dinner, your brain was overriding the modern cortex whose logical and pragmatic processing voted in favor of the nutritional value in a salad. Your primal function defaulted to its reward system urging you to consume sugar instead, which releases the dopamine hormone (the “happiness” hormone) into your system, thus reinforcing your decision.

All this to say, our primal cortex functions see to it that emotions play a heavy hand in our decision-making process.

Which leads me to wonder: If emotions drive our decision-making, why are we as marketers spending so much time catering to our logic-based modern cortex?

Take corporate decision-makers. In the B2B world today, buyers are doing their own research and drowning in a sea of similar options. As they identify solutions, 68% percent see little to no difference between vendors and CSO Insights found that 70% fully define their needs before engaging with a sales representative. Almost half identify specific solutions before reaching out. So, with vendors all looking the same and the logical decision-making happening without you, there seems to be an opportunity to stimulate the primal cortex function — the emotional response — in your customer journey to motivate them to partner with you. But how?

You get personal.

Businesses who understand the emotional connection to decision making are shifting their CX strategies. They recognize that CX by necessity is developed for the mass of potential customers and they’re consciously planning how to get personal throughout the customer journey — looking to transform moments of interaction from one-to-many to one-to-one as much as possible.

The difference between one-to-many and one-to-one is the difference between using personalization and being personal.

For example, let’s say you send 1,000 cupcakes to your top 100 accounts. Statistically speaking due to an avoidance of gluten, 33% of those on the receiving end of your cupcakes will leave them untouched in the break room. Of the remaining 670 folks, the Food Information Council says about 38% of them are likely on some kind of diet. Meaning they too will ignore those cupcakes. Factor in OOO time and your well-meaning confectionary treat turned into wasted revenue.

By sending just one generic gift to many people, simply changing the name on each box, you used personalization.

Don’t get me wrong, automation coupled with personalization was a huge breakthrough for sales and marketing teams. It meant that businesses could focus on optimizing “the numbers game” and allowed for greater reach and scale. Now everyone in the marketplace is doing this, and there is just too much personalization and not enough personal.

The era of Personal Experience (PX) is upon us. Now it’s possible to scale not only the quantity but the quality of our outreach to make it relevant, relatable and respectful on a one-to-one basis. When done right, PX evokes a positive emotion, thus activating the primal cortex function turning the odds in favor of your offerings. That said, to be successful, marketing, sales and customer success teams must be aligned. Delivering PX in as many stages of CX as possible requires thoughtful and coordinated planning.

In lieu of sending 1,000 cupcakes, a PX-centric business would research their prospects — or use a tool that combines PX with automation and scale — to send 1,000 unique and personal gifts to their 100 target accounts. This business would also empower their gift recipients and allow them to exchange their original gift for one that is more desired and/or helpful.

When we prioritize personal over personalization, the emotional over the rational, we focus on the person, not the persona. I don’t know about you, but I’m far more inclined to work with a company that sees me for me instead of me as a profit.

What about you? Have you seen or worked with a company that embraces PX to trigger that primal cortex function by recognizing you as the individual that you are?
Are you one of those folks ahead of the curve using PX in your demand gen?

Tell me about it below!

MK is the Director of Customer Marketing at Alyce, an AI-powered direct mail and swag platform. Not afraid of a challenge, MK once packed up her guitar case and moved to the south of Spain in search of tapas and a chance to live outside of her comfort zone. When she’s not tackling adventures in countries whose native languages she does not speak, she can be found tilting the Customer Marketing playbooks on their heads. If you’re looking for someone to brainstorm with, join MK along the Boston Harbor for a walking meeting with her black lab, Kody.

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