Imagine three people walking down a cobbled street. The first one might look down and see that each cobble has a different touch of grey and blue. The second one, a scientist, might solely be focused on the wind. He sees it as a force, upon which he is an opposite force as he’s walking right into it. And the third one might simply dislike walking down a cobbled street.
From this example, we can derive that these are three very different individuals, right? So, why aren’t we fully integrating this knowledge when it comes down to the internet?
The internet is individual
Some see the internet as a portal to cute cat videos, others as an easy way to get the goods they want, as fast as possible. Even others, like me, see the internet as a bookshop. A place filled with information and knowledge.
Now, all these different people will use and navigate the internet in different ways. If you’re interested in cute cat videos, you’ll probably Google “cat videos” and go straight to Youtube. But if you’re interested in knowledge on a certain topic, you mind not necessarily end up on Youtube.
But why am I telling you all this obvious stuff? Because I believe this is where personalization comes in.
But is the internet personal?
I see the internet as an enormous bookshop. Not surprisingly, bookshops are among my most favourite places to be. For instance, when I’m in a city and I’m early for a meeting, I like to check if there is a bookshop close by. I simply Google it. But it doesn’t stop there.
I like bookshops with a nice interior. So I’ll check Google streetview to look at the building. Maybe the place even uploaded some pictures of their interior.
Then I check what kind of books they sell. If they have a large section on history books, I’m hooked and start walking right away.
But reading this, I realize these are quite some steps before making the decision. And they aren’t even bulletproof. What if a nice little bookshop isn’t on the Google My Business list? Or what if they simply lack the SEO skills, so they don’t pop up on the first page of search results?
Yet, this is where, in my humble opinion, the future of marketing and search engines lies. Getting all those steps together in a matter of milliseconds.
Because Google already knows that I’m often in Antwerp and Ghent. It also knows that I’m a sucker for history books and that I’m constantly on the lookout for small and cosy bookstores. Google knows this thanks to my digital footprints.
So why not puzzling it all together? Why not creating an algorithm that, based on the keyword “bookstores” gives me options fully tailored to my history of needs and wants? A system that only looks at your interests, location, browser history, …? All those things that define your digital identity.
It would give a highly personalized answer, leaving behind big bookstores that won’t draw my attention. And it wouldn’t just look at the companies scoring well on SEO.
Not only would it force companies to be more customer centric in their online presence. They would have to clearly define their business, and show what is in it for their clients. On top of that, the entire Google search engine would put consumers first.
What’s in it for marketers?
So what’s the deal for marketers? You would have to segment your audience, tailoring to their specific needs. Why not create different homepages on your website for all the different segments? (Some companies are already doing this, and with good results!)
I’m trying to get more into this “personalized marketing”, and hope to get a more practical blogpost in soon!