Aug 20, 2013

Interesting Facts

Personal Interest

bank run
Personal interests are categories or topics your customer finds inherently interesting: Formula 1 Racing, Healthy Cooking, or Reggae Music, for example. People are predisposed to consider propositions related to their topics. That's what having an interest means.

Propositions placed where people who might be interested in them will see them, are more likely to be accepted. That's the straightforward insight behind contextual ad targeting offered by Google AdWords and other online ad networks.

Through placement, it's also possible to manufacture an association of your proposition with customers interests. Citibank, for example, sponsors sports events in order to develop an association of their financial propositions with customer personal interests. This cultivates a feeling in the customer that Citibank is relevant to their personal life, making them more receptive to propositions from the bank.

Citibank sponsors sports that interest potential customers.

Events and opportunities are more interesting when they are nearby. A kitchen fire feels more personally relevant when the house is next door; less so when it is on the next block, and perhaps not at all if it is in another city. Wikipedia's Nearby feature makes its articles more relevant by delivering articles related to customers’ current location. Peoples’ interests are usually related to where and what they are doing.

Wikipedia Nearby shows
articles on topics near you.


Location-based reminders add value by delivering the reminder when (i.e., where) the information is most relevant. Part of the promise of location-based-marketing, in which consumers receive offers from shops when they are nearby, is that consumers will receive propositions that are relevant to their current activity. (Another part of the promise is that nearby propositions require less effort to consume. See the related post in this series.)

iOS location-based reminders pop up when they are of most interest.
In addition to location, other factors shaping your customer’s interests include gender and age, time of day, occupation, and current activity. This is what makes search-term-based advertising so powerful. Search terms expose people’s current interests.

Bottom line

Relevance is key to building Customer Lifetime Value because it drives recurring transactions. Propositions are relevant to your customer either because they align with personal interests, or because they carry value, impression, or outcome relevance. To appeal to your customer's personal interest:

  • The goal of your design should be to relate to your customer's interests, more than to create interest in itself.
  • Connect your proposition to your customer’s personal interests.
  • Demographic segmentations such as age, gender, occupation, are most powerful when they help to identify your customer’s personal interests.
  • Physical location and current activity also indicate your customer’s current personal interests.


Is this relevant to you? I'm interested to know. Leave a comment below. Please engage.


This post is part of a series on Design for Customer Engagement.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.

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