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How Personalized Tech Creates New Opportunities for Social Impact Marketing

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In recent months, there’s been a notable evolution of user personalization in tech. The extent to which a user’s experiences can be personalized is expanding more than ever–across more traditional means and into the metaverse–and this expansion creates new opportunities to inspire action and drive change.

According to recent articles in Canvas8, there is power in tech personalization for both the user and the brand or organization. Here’s a look at the latest developments and opportunities.

Personalized Promotions

Take, for example, email marketing. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be difficult holidays for those who grieve. Parents and children are often more readily confronted with painful reminders of those who are no longer with them. These reminders are often translated through retail advertisements and promotions. A new trend has emerged to address this—emails from companies allowing people to opt out of communications relating to the upcoming holiday.

"We understand that Mother's Day can be a difficult time for some," reads one message from the e-commerce marketplace Etsy, which is known for its handmade crafts and gifts. "If you'd rather not receive emails from us about Mother's Day this year, let us know by removing yourself below. We'll still keep you in the loop about one-of-a-kind finds we think you'll love, just without the Mother's Day messages."

NPR counted more than a dozen such emails sent out this spring, from organizations like Pandora jewelry, luggage company Away, dessert chain Milk Bar and the Democratic National Committee.

While many will argue that this trend is one for the overly-sensitive, there has been overwhelming support for a more thoughtful approach to this level of personalization.

Of course, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day aren’t the only holidays that can be explored here. There is also the possibility for these unique email opt-outs to be applied to other timeframes and message dependencies.

Thought starter: What are your organization’s values and causes, and how could custom emails engage subscribers who are most passionate about them?

Customized Curation

Netflix recently added a “two thumbs up” option for subscribers to rate their favorite shows on the streaming platform. After finding that the binary “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” didn’t provide enough nuance, Netflix added the “two thumbs up” feature to encourage subscribers to further distinguish the shows they like from the shows they love. It’s also to ensure that Netflix has information on the content that users most want to see. All of this is meant to ensure that Netflix continues to be the place where it’s easiest to choose something to watch.

Netflix isn’t alone in innovating. Spotify has recently been granted a patent for technology that can analyze mood through a people's voices, making song recommendations based on the findings.

Thought starter: What curated experiences could your organization consider, and how might those opportunities create new ways to create positive social impact?

Virtual Experiences and Communities

Personalization in tech is entering a whole new chapter, one where the use cases are still being defined.

After AR and VR, the next frontier will be PR—personalized reality. There are countless opportunities to create more unique ways to play, entertain and build communal experiences.

VR and AR hold the potential to transform workouts, for example, by creating regularly updated programs, motivational AI, and changeable scenery—but that is only the beginning.

Here’s one example from Canvas8: The sunglasses you wear while running will also deliver real-time personalized content to help you in ways you don't even realize, like routing you to avoid an ice cream truck because your AI knows you have a 63% chance of stopping for an ice cream if you've been exercising for more than 20 minutes with a heart rate over 125 beats per minute.

In short, the metaverse could bleed into the real world with the help of AR tools that promote discovery and connection while out and about.

But there are also powerful opportunities in fully virtual spaces. The social layer within gaming is already a critical component of platforms like Twitch and Roblox, and is only gaining importance among players. This is driving tech firms to invest in immersive tools that facilitate richer shared experiences online.

Thought starter: What does community engagement currently look like for your organization, and what are the opportunities for greater impact in virtual environments?

In short, it’s an exciting time for nonprofits and other brands and organizations to find the correlation between their messaging materials, technology, personalization and identity. As tech continues to evolve, this will become more and more of a necessary marketing tactic.

This article is the sixth in a series spotlighting trends produced in partnership with CANVAS8.

Photo: Sound On / Pexels


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