Forever Learning

Forever learning and helping machines do the same.

Marketing Personalization and the Uncanny Valley

with 3 comments

Dear [prospect.first_name],

Following our last discussion on [prospect.last_contact_date] concerning [prospect.subject_area] I think the following article would be of particular interest to you.

Seth Godin writes.

Sure, it’s easy to grab a first name from a database or glean some info from a profile.

But when you pretend to know me, you’ve already started our relationship with a lie. You’ve cheapened the tools we use to recognize each other and you’ve tricked me, at least a little.

Increased familiarity begets heightened expectations. Personalization has its own uncanny valley.

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics and 3D computer animation, which holds that when human replicas look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.

When you treat your customers as though you know them personally they will be personally offended if you do not. Beware of the eerie hollow of broken promise.

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Written by Lukas Vermeer

February 2, 2012 at 15:33

3 Responses

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  1. Ik word altijd moe van die ellelange “spontane” standaard text die om een reactie heengeplakt wordt. Ze willen dan de indruk wekken uitgebreid op je probleem in te gaan, terwijl de helpdesk medewerker alleen een 5 woordige samenvatting van het probleem getypt heeft en daarna “won’t fix” geklikt.

    Sjors Provoost

    February 6, 2012 at 21:08

  2. […] has recently discovered that beyond the uncanny valley of personalized marketing lies the bottomless pit of invasive identity […]

  3. […] is difficult. I’ve written before about the uncanny valley where personalized results are so off the mark that they have an adverse effect. The trough of […]


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