businessman using his digital tabletHas customized communication gone too far?

Personalization is the key to delivering a great customer experience. Sales and marketing professionals know this, and it’s exactly what we strive to deliver for our customers—tailored, relevant content they want to see.

But consider the flip-side: As consumers, we’re only getting customized, relevant content—from news organizations, social media, and brand marketers alike.

This sounds good in theory. We’re already overwhelmed with massive amounts of data at work. It’s nice to sit back and let someone else sort through the content for us when we get home. But is customized communication stopping us from expanding our thinking, considering new perspectives and ideas, or making new connections?

Mark Hunter—a.k.a., “The Sales Hunter”—discusses the problem with personalization in this month’s No More Cold Calling guest post. Here’s his take:

“Whether you realize it or not, the more time we spend on the web, the more we become victims of living in a small town.

Years ago, we all got our news from one of three networks. We all spent time each evening with people such as Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings, and Tom Brokaw. We all read the same local newspaper in the city where we lived, and we all listened to one of maybe five AM radio stations.

As a result, we all received pretty much the same news. Regardless of our personal perspectives and beliefs, we still got our news from the same sources.

Flash forward to today, and we get much of our news by what’s trending on Twitter, what our “friends” are writing about on Facebook, or from the very segmented news sites we visit on the web.

Let’s not kid ourselves for a second. What we’re getting now is news that is incredibly tailored to our beliefs and interests.

National news programs and the newspaper industry are in free fall.  Even local news is contracting rapidly, held together only by its ability to do local weather and personal stories.

What I see happening today is nothing more than a return of the small town many of us grew up in. As a child, my world comprised of everyone else who lived in my little town. My beliefs and perspectives were shaped by my little town.

It’s amazing how 50 years later, the only thing that has changed is my little town has gone from a physical town, to a virtual town comprised of those I connect with online and the sites I visit.

The more often I visit these sites, the more they know about me and can, in turn, tailor the information they offer me. The more I read what they send, the more tailored it becomes.

Every website—whether it be social media, business, or news—is in a race for eyeballs. And the best way to get more eyeballs is by giving the people who are already visiting even more of what they want.

Now don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying the Internet is bad. But it is good to stand back every now and then, and consider how much the Internet shapes and/or reaffirms what we already believe.

From a sales perspective, I encourage you to continually explore new insights. Don’t just focus on what is happening and/or working in your industry, but also seek out other industries that are totally unrelated to what you do.

Visit new blogs and news sites every now and then. You might be surprised at how it sparks your thinking and your creativity, which can add momentum to what you are already accomplishing.”

(Note: This post has been slightly edited from its original version, which appeared on Mark’s Sales Motivation Blog.)

MHunterAbout the Author

Mark Hunter—a.k.a., “The Sales Hunter”—is a keynote speaker, sales trainer, and author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price. Learn more at You can also find Mark on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.