Jeff Haber Tue May 8, 2018

If your mom is anything like my mom, she has a lot of questions about this personalization mumbo-jumbo. She reads the news and hasn’t liked – and certainly hasn’t “thumbed-up” – some of the recent developments concerning privacy and social media.

First of all, Mom, calm down. CALM. DOWN. No one is making you do anything you don’t want to do. The government is not coming after you. Big Brother is not watching you 24/7.

In celebration of Mother’s Day, we’ve got a present you and your mom are sure to enjoy – our helpful guide to dispelling the myths of personalization:

If your mom says: Personalization is creepy.

We say: Personalization is so commonplace in the digital era that it occurs naturally all the time. Unless your mom is a steadfast Luddite, she’s going about her everyday activities while using some form of digital technology, be it a mobile phone, portable device or computer. Let’s say she does her shopping online. Almost every retail website she uses will recognize her ‘cookie’ (of the digital variety, not her homemade chocolate-chip kind) and will personalize her home page, greeting her by name. If she subscribes to Netflix, Spotify or Hulu, those services will personalize content recommendations every time she logs on. Maybe she keeps in touch with you on Facebook or Instagram. Those social-media feeds are tailored off her behavioral tendencies, so the content is curated specifically for her. Personalization with a purpose is nothing to be afraid of, but rather something to be embraced as part of the digital experience.   

If your mom says: Personalization means my identity is public.

We say: Digital interaction at any time or location – even in the comfort of your mom’s own home – leaves a footprint. As long as she takes the most preventive action possible, through a combination of updated virus protection and security software, regular password changes and a bit of common sense (back up files, don’t share more than is necessary while online, etc), conquering this fear requires a level of acceptance about the digital world we live in.      

If your mom says: I don’t want companies knowing everything about me.

We say: Social media channels and branded websites are taking proactive measures to safeguard against digital identity theft and reduce invasive marketing tactics. For instance, Facebook has instituted limits on their advertising tools, forbidding third-party data usage – meaning your mom’s Facebook feed won’t get cluttered with ads that aren’t relevant to her.

If your mom says: This is the best that personalization can do.

We say: Companies are pursuing alternative methods of personalization to avoid infringement on privacy. Some marketers are seeking out less-common personalization platforms like LinkedIn to target by geographic area and occupation, creating campaigns with a broad audience reach, yet which remain distinct enough to personalize. Smart retargeting is another new personalization strategy, one with emotional currency attached. Instead of showing your mom a banner ad of her previously-purchased product, brands can segment data according to her last site visit and deliver customized ad messages that are more emotionally engaging and informative.        

If your mom says: You don’t call home enough.

We say: You’re on your own.

Happy Mother’s Day!


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