Mobile technology and mass customization by Diane Danielson

Mobile technology has changed more than the fact that we can work anywhere at anytime. Earlier we discussed how mobilization has affected how we perceive time and use space.  This week, we’re looking at how it has increased the need for personalized services and mass customization, even in the B2B realm.

One of the interesting things about mobile technology is that we all use the same devices, but we customize them to fit our own needs. With over 775,000 apps in the iPhone store (including our own SVN™ Connect iPad and iPhone apps), and multiple settings for font size, ringtones, and hundreds of other options, it’s statistically impossible to duplicate another individual’s mobile experience.  On top of that, the smartphone case market is booming – everyone wants to personalize his or her identical device.

When it comes to content on your device, again, no two people see the same Twitter or Facebook feed. We personalize our feeds to fit our own unique interests. For example, my Twitter feed is full of local news + social media and business gurus + commercial real estate contacts + a handful of pop culture tweeters. This is a mix that is not likely to be duplicated by anyone else, but it works for me.

As a result of all this personalization in the palm of our hands, mobile technology has helped solidify the era of mass customization.

How is customization being used in your industry? In the hospitality industry, hotels are all delivering the same basic product: a room for rent. Yet, at many hotels these days, you can:

Big mugs and “to go” cups. Now that’s mass customization in a hotel that I really appreciate!
  • choose different rates that might include different benefits like breakfast or complimentary internet access
  • have a wake-up call, use an old-fashioned alarm clock or dock your iphone right next to your bed.
  • make coffee in your room, and even have your choice of mugs or “to go” cups.
  • Self-park or valet-park
  • Check out online or in person
  • Earn points towards future stays
  • Use points from other frequent traveler programs

Providing customization in the details, whether it’s at initial contact or during delivery of services, can become your differentiator and the key to client loyalty.

So what does this mean for the commercial real estate industry? It means that you have to look at your business from the user’s perspective and get personal. Here are two areas where you can incorporate some customization.


Start with something as basic as your website contact page. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to contact someone by phone and there is only a generic contact form on the page or vice versa. You need to give site visitors both options. In addition, you can further personalize your communications by allowing site visitors to directly contact individuals at the firm or by area of expertise.

In addition, there are potential clients out there who may prefer to get to know you and your business via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or even an eNewsletter. Provide them with options.  Do you send out email blasts? Consider segmenting your list. Most email distribution programs have this option, which even allows recipients to select the type of offerings about which they want to hear.


This past year, SVNIC focused on rolling out two more service options for our franchisees to adopt: Property Management and Auction Services. We also have specialty product councils, where our Advisors can team up with others who have a product specialty like hospitality or marinas. The ability to provide multiple, related services for a client creates the perfect platform for client personalization.

Diane Danielson

How are you setting up your business up for customization this year?

Diane K. Danielson is the Chief Platform Officer at Sperry Van Ness International Corp. Click here to follow her on Twitter.