Cocktail Party Personalization

A buddy of mine frequently uses a simple analogy when talking about multiple devices and sessions during the user journey...

If you're talking to a friend on your cell phone and then run into them on the sidewalk, you don't hang-up and start the conversation over again.  You switch communication methods (phone vs. in person) and continue the conversation.  

Pretty simple, and accurate.  Thinking about the conversation we want to have with our customer and how we may continue the conversation across multiple sessions is a valuable exercise.  

I had a similarly framed thought about personalization the other day.  I found myself at a neighborhood social, bumping into people and engaging in small talk.  'Where do you live?  What do you do?  How do you know the hosts?'  I thought about how the cocktail party small talk process is similar to personalization tactics.  

We start with quick exploration of what we may have in common with the visitor (or cocktail party guest).  Once we have something in common, we can have a deeper, more meaningful conversation.  We look for validation that our message is being received and is welcomed.  

You know what it's like to get cornered by 'that guy' at a party.  The guy that does an unsolicited infomercial on himself and whatever his pet interest is, regardless of whether you're interested in the topic.  Don't be 'that guy'; at the party, or online.  Look for validation from the customer that they're interested in your topic and that you have their permission to dig deeper into the subject.