Why do companies gaslight email personalisation? Gaslighting is defined as a form of psychological abuse, (dimming the lights to hide the clarity of truth) in this case it is where a company makes someone question their perception of reality. People experiencing gaslighting often feel confused, anxious, and unable to trust themselves. Often it is based on lies, pressure and used for coercion, to make someone commonly see an alternate perception. You can bet it’s what the person doing the gaslighting needs you to believe, to further their own goals.
Scholars would also call it obfuscation, meaning to make something difficult to understand. For example, programming code is often obfuscated to protect intellectual property or trade secrets, and to prevent an attacker from reverse engineering a proprietary software program. So why would someone want to confuse something as straight forward as email personalisation?
Gaslighting often develops gradually, making it difficult for a person to detect. Sometimes it’s obvious, and you only have to read a website to indentify it easily, if you know what to look for. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, techniques a person may use to gaslight someone include:
Countering: This describes a person questioning someone’s memories. They may say things such as, “you never remember things accurately,” or “are you sure? You have a bad memory.” This is ideal for companies wanting you to believe their software does the same thing as that you want or need.
For example saying “sure we offer email personalisation”, yet on close examination you could discover is that what they are actually offering is segmenting audiences. Ask yourself the question, “If someone filled an auditorium with people including you, and made you stand in a group of people, are you enjoying personalisation, or being lumped together with a load of others?”. Segmentation is not personalisation, indeed there is an argument that it is more likely to be construed that segmentation is marketing marginalisation.
Withholding: When someone withholds, they refuse to engage in a conversation. A person using this technique may pretend not to understand someone so that they do not have to respond to them. For example, they might say, “I do not know what you are talking about,” or “you are just trying to confuse me.” A professional marketeer would reasonably be expected to have achieved a good academic standard, be polite, enjoy social involvement and be respected by their peers.
Correspondingly they would be this very nature not expect that anyone would deliberately withhold information from them. But consider if you owned a software company, that had been a trusted and established brand for years, but which didn’t take on board the shifting emphasis on personalisation. Instead it preferred to adapt the technology it offered, merely rebranding it with using the latest buzzwords instead. Would you spot it? The perfect example of this lack of transparency offered by companies in their public ratings. respect the ones who offer open and unadulterated results more, than those who look too good to be true.
- Trivializing: This occurs when a person belittles or disregards the other person’s feelings. They may accuse them of being too sensitive or of overreacting when they have valid concerns and feelings. Consider that multiple sources of the latest results illustrate that personalisation out-performs every other form of marketing at a rate in excess of 20x that of anything else. These are the figures being used by a variety of research companies including Deloitte, Statista and McKinsey.
Companies that practise gaslighting, don’t want you to know these figures, and the obvious practise to ensure you don’t spot it are references to other stats, like it costing 6x more to get new customers than keep and existing. While true it doesn’t highlight that personalisation to the same “retained customers” is 20x higher with personalisation.
- Denial: Denial involves a person pretending to forget events or how they occurred. They may deny having said or done something or accuse someone of making things up. in fairness, we are yet to see an example of this directly, possibly due to legal liability. Therefore this is more likely to be something spoken than printed. Nevertheless, if you’re chatting away to someone and they say, “Yea that’s all well and good, but our software easily performs as well as theirs”, need look to their laurels if the shrewd marketer later discovers the volume of losses incurred as a consequence of this duplicity.
- Diverting: With this technique, a person changes the focus of a discussion and questions the other person’s credibility instead. For example, they might say, “that is just another crazy idea you got from that company.” This is an old salesman’s practise from ages past, and much publicised practise used in Hollywood blockbusters. Keeping the audience distracted watching the left hand, while the trick is being performed by the right. “Oooh look at the bright shiny thing there”, and the caveat – don’t take any notice that the sales aren’t as good, or that you have to employ someone at £50k a year to do it, needing an ROI of double if not treble that to break-even, even before you start.
- Stereotyping: An article in the American Sociological Review states that a person using gaslighting techniques may intentionally use negative stereotypes of a competitor to manipulate their perception, as that lower than their own. This always hit’s the new guys hardest. It may smash all the stats, but “If they haven’t been invited to the top-table at the club, do you really want to give them your attention?.” You should be saying “you betcha”.
The importance of personalisation
Ecommerce personalisation increases both sales, customer engagement, and customer loyalty. 45% of consumers say they are more likely to shop on an ecommerce site that offers personalisation. Why spend valuable time looking at products of zero interest, when instead you can be led exactly to what you like and want? Setting up a truly effective personalised ecommerce experience may be seen as a complex proposition involving lots of moving parts, but with the right set of tools at hand, it is much easier to achieve.
Overall, ecommerce personalisation is simply the only way to stay competitive in today’s fast-paced ecommerce environment, and luckily, it is always possible to start small. If you are already personalising the eCommerce experience to your individual customer needs, ask yourself, what else can I do to provide an even better customer experience? What can be done to treat each person uniquely and not just as another statistic?
SwiftERM offers ecommerce retailers a 100% automatically system that runs alongside any and all existing email software. It personalises product selection for each individual consumer perpetually, without needing any staff whatsoever – ever! In knows each consumer’s preferred product selection and uses it to greatest advantage in their emails. After a free trial SwiftERM quickly adds new turnover and new profits. But further, it increases basket size (AOV), and skyrockets CLV. It is as an enormously high performing Martech solution.
SwiftERM are Microsoft Partners and the only company in the world authorised by Trustpilot to include product ratings in outbound email marketing.