Build More Trust with Citizens Through Personalized Messaging

by Cris Paden

posted on 08-15-2017

Posted by Kumar Rachuri, Director of State and Local Government Solutions

Government agencies have the unique challenge of serving what can seem like countless citizens. These citizens are incredibly diverse, and come to government websites for various reasons.

That’s why personalization will be the foundation for effectively communicating with each individual citizen.

Take, for example, people who seek out updates about construction work in a city. Some are curious how construction will delay their commute to work. Others wonder how construction will disrupt their sleeping schedule, and ask questions like: Will this block the main highway again tomorrow? When will the noise and vibrations from the drilling end?

Hanging up a generic “Under Construction” sign with a phone number is not enough. Many people miss it, or it could be too late—the citizen may already be negatively affected before they decide to call in. Then it becomes a public relations nightmare that strains relationships. It’s a problem that could have been avoided with clear, advance communication.

This happened during the construction of the Second Avenue Subway line in New York City, a project 100-years in the making that was re-started in 2007.

The project was heavily scrutinized by the neighboring citizens and the press. They had individualized questions about blast timing, drilling, air quality, and timeline of the construction.

Some citizens were business owners concerned with their signage being blocked due to construction. They wondered when they would be visible again to foot traffic. Others were property owners who wanted to be reassured that property values will likely go up. Even more were residents who couldn’t sleep from the drilling and noise. And, of course, a large number were residents unaffected by the construction who simply wanted high-level updates on the project’s progress. In short, all of these various citizen segment did not need all of the same notifications.

Clearly, the signs that the constructors put up and the events they held to answer questions from local businesses did not do much to ease the neighborhood’s anxiety. There were several lawsuits against the subway authorities.

The lesson is: Setting clear expectations in advance, addressing your individual audience’s concerns and knowing when to communicate can save relationships.

And it’s not just in crisis situations. Each citizen wants personalized information whether for enrolling in benefits, renewing their license, starting a business, or managing taxes.

The other benefit of targeted messaging is that it grabs your readers’ attention. Most agencies mass-email their groups, but that’s hardly effective. People don’t want to be inundated with information they perceive to be needless or irrelevant. They will tune you out or unsubscribe. The resident who can’t sleep because of construction noise doesn’t care about the next meeting for business owners in the neighborhood. When people get information they don’t need at the wrong time, that content gets sent straight to the spam folder.

To serve citizens, government agencies must know them and communicate effectively with them. A customer journey can start on a laptop at home, transition to a phone, and finish on a desktop PC at an office. Either way, communication must be relevant, timely and personal to engage the busy, on-the-go citizen today.


Adobe Campaign is an advanced communications platform that coordinates and personalizes messaging for different citizen segments. It’s one place that allows you to manage your data and monitor the performance of your campaigns.

Since you can see detailed information of all your users, the platform allows you to target each individual with personalized, real-time messages. It also allows you to use automation to raise your productivity and help your team become more efficient by reducing time-to-market.

With Adobe Campaign, you can design citizen journeys, target audiences and launch personalized emails to each segment of your audience. You can create workflows in advance, with no coding knowledge needed. This works for both offline and online campaigns, from design to email to analytics.

Your team can advance beyond one general message for a diverse audience to targeted messaging in their campaigns—a much more effective choice. You can also track how each campaign is doing, and reach a real-time understanding of each citizen.

You’ll understand each audience segment through a profile, lifetime value, past engagement, benefit or service history, social integrations, demographic data and other information pulled together in one centralized view.

Adobe Campaign helped the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston consolidate all of its existing email, direct-mail, and phone number data. This allowed the museum to promote activities such as lectures and film series as well as school programs and studio art classes. It also allowed them to send out targeted emails, which led to a 53% unique open rate.

This same practice can be applied to government agencies. No more blanket outreach emails that causes people to ignore, delete, or mark as spam. Ensure the messages you send are speaking directly and clearly to one specific audience, addresses their problems and needs, and reaches them in the medium they prefer most. Then the trust will build.

See how Adobe Campaign also led to successful campaigns at LA Kings and Forrester.

Learn more about Adobe Campaign.

Topics: Government