Gartner, in its report, “Marketers, They’re Just Not That Into You” predicts that by 2025, 80 percent of marketers will drop personalization efforts. Yet personalization recently was ANA’s “word of the year” for marketers. Here are three reasons I believe marketers should value speed and efficiency over granularity in prioritizing data investments for 2021 and beyond.

1. I Want You To Know Me…at a Safe Distance

Consumers love the short distance from impulse to purchase enabled by digital powerhouses like Amazon, Netflix and Nike.

Barry Levine, writing for Marketing Dive, says we live in an age where more than half of consumers expect brands to deliver a perfectly curated experience, one that anticipates their buying habits and needs.

Yet consumers are increasingly concerned about privacy. Gartner reported 41 percent of consumers found it unnerving to receive a text from a brand or retailer while walking past one of their physical stores, and 35 percent felt the same way about seeing pop-up ads on social media for products they’ve previously searched online.

2. It’s Not (All) that Deep

Person-level data is only available for digital channels. If you market via traditional media as well, as most consumer brands do, you need to allocate the macro-level data from these channels to the same micro level in order to get a truly unified perspective.

As we published earlier this year for the Forbes Communications Council, “The more granular the data, the higher the acquisition cost and, surprisingly, the error rate.”

3. Granularity: Introducing Cost, Complexity and Conflict

While personalization can be very powerful in digital channels, particularly in the customer journey, it also introduces cost, complexity and potential conflict with other data sources. To get the unified (comparable) perspective you need for decision making, other data sources would have to be merged into one model with the personal data. Exhaustive, complex models created to measure granularity take a lot of time to develop, are not repeatable and interestingly, often are not any more accurate.

Analysis needs to happen at the speed of decision making. Person-level analysis works contrary to speed. Focusing on analysis at the level where decisions are being made and where marketing investment is allocated allows for speed, continuous learning and agility without sacrificing accuracy.

As you consider what data you’ll rely on to drive decisions this year, prioritize sources at the level at which you’re making buying decisions, that are accessible, avoid privacy issues (so are likely to remain available) and comparable with your other channels.