choiceGo online and very often you’ll see a note that says something like, “You may also like…” recommending another article or item to buy. That recommendation comes from sites tracking your activity, collecting your data and making recommendations based on it. The drawback is that the “personalized” recommendations are also based on what people who the algorithm thinks are like you have done. What the personalization is also doing is steering you in a specific direction. By sticking to that direction, you are missing out on other options.

If you’re using these personalization tools in your business, they are useful for focusing your customer where you want them go. Connecting your customers to content and products that you want them to see is useful. However, what you (and the algorithms) think will appeal to your customer is not necessarily what they want. You don’t want to overwhelm them with choices, but you want to give them enough of choice to let them find what they want.

Don’t assume all your customers are alike based on superficial data. Let them discover what you can do for them and what they will like.