Personalized marketing: selling to the individual

Personalized Marketing: Definitions and Examples

One of the most important breakthroughs in marketing was when companies realized they could personalize their messages and target an individual prospect.

My inbox is full of offers for pharmaceuticals I’ve never wanted, questionable private inbox messages from people I don’t know on platforms I’ve never been, and suspicious content from the people at Go.o.ogle who want me to know that my password needs to be changed by going through the link in the email. I’m sure you have variations of the same, and they all have one thing in common. They are all perfect examples of personalized marketing gone wrong.

What is Personalized Marketing?

For those new to the game, personalized marketing focuses on the individual. Also known as one-to-one marketing, marketing personalization or individual marketing, it differs quite a bit from traditional and targeted marketing.

Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is a kind of “catch-all”. Imagine going fishing in a lake or ocean with a net (sorry animal lovers). It’s a wide cast, and there’s no telling what you might get. You could pull up an empty net, or you could pull up a net full of a variety of different water creatures… or boots. Inevitably, you’ll end up having to throw something back.

That’s traditional marketing. This is your billboards and cold calls, television and radio ads… the marketer standing in the middle of the mall or local club market asking shoppers if they’ve ever tried out a bamboo pillow. Traditional marketing emphasizes quantity over relevance, with no guaranteed returns.

Target Marketing

A traditional, target marketing is kind of the “in between” for traditional and personalized marketing. It relies heavily on user and marketing data, then creating target market segments. With those segments, you create campaigns that relate directly to the consumers in that segment.

In our fishing metaphor, this is the equivalent of using bass bait and a fishing pole. You’re going to get less fish, but the fish you pull out is much more likely to be the type you want. As the name implies, this type of marketing is highly targeted. While you still will end up throwing some back (you won’t always get a bass, for example), it will be much less frequent.

Personalized Marketing

With personalized marketing, you’ve thrown away the net and guess work. You have the high-powered sonar and a specific fish you’re watching. When you catch the fish, it’s the exact one you’re going for.

Rather than cast a wide net (traditional), or aim for a segment (target), personalized marketing actively pinpoints a specific buyer. Like target marketing, it relies heavily on data, but that data (as the name implies) is very personal. In fact, the level of personalization is the cause of one drawback for this type of marketing.

email marketing

Examples of Personalized Marketing

So where can you find examples of personalized marketing? For one, probably in the same place you find bad examples: your inbox.

Email Marketing

One of the popular personalization techniques is to dynamically add the visitor’s name to any email transactions. Instead of “Hi there…”, you’ll read “Hi [your name]”. Remarketing emails are an excellent example:

Hello Georgia,

Thank you for being a long-time shopper with CompanyXYZ. We noticed that the last time you came to the site, you put the Striped Jumper (size large) in your cart but left before you closed the transaction.

Did you know that we have a customer loyalty plan? If you sign up now, you can get the Striped Jumper for only $10. That’s a savings of 50%! Our loyalty plan comes with lots of perks – you can read about them here.

If you’re looking for something similar but in a different style, we suggest [Product 1], [Product 2] or [Product 3].

If you have any questions, a customer service representative would be happy to help.

We look forward to serving you for many years to come.

Email remarketing, by the way, has brought in as much as a 2100% boost in conversions. This is not a method to ignore.

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs seem to be all about the customer and thanking them for buying your products. However, they’re a big win-win for the business. Customers willingly provide the company in-depth information about themselves to get customized coupons, sales, etc.

Website Interactions

Perhaps the most versatile way to use personalized marketing is through website interactions and personalized content.

Have you ever clicked on a link to fill out a form only to find that some of your information has been filled out for you? This is one form of personalized marketing, often used on B2B sites. This usually starts with email marketing, such as an advertisement for a downloadable eBook. The company already has your information, or they wouldn’t be able to email you. They save you time by auto filling your information into the form.

You can see another example of personalized marketing if you come from a different country or speak another language. The website will redirect you to a language or location-specific version.

Yet another is any website that lets you design their product to your specifications. Dell is an example of this, letting you choose exactly how heavy a beast you want to buy based on needs and price range. If you get lost in all the techno-babble, you can always talk to the handy customer service representative, readily available by bot-chat.

Other real-life examples of personalization include moments such as:

  • Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign, where each Coke can and bottle came with a name on it instead of the brand.
  • Netflix, which lets you choose who is watching and keeps track of the kind of movies/shows you like so it can serve up more of the same
  • Amazon, that personalizes every experience it possibly can, from the “Hello, [Customer Name]” to the “You bought this product last week” when you’re surfing.

Pros and Cons of Personalized Marketing

With all this good stuff about personalized marketing, it’s hard to see how there might be pros and cons, right? Or maybe not.

The biggest con and huge conundrum with personalization is… well, personalization. Statistics show that buyers prefer a personalized experience. However, statistics also show privacy is a major consumer concern on a global scale. Although regulations such as GDPR have been put into place and little boxes have popped up everywhere online that talk about what’s done with the consumer’s data, that worry hasn’t changed much.

It doesn’t help when you visit a site once, and then see that site’s ads stalking you everywhere else you go online. Or you go to your inbox and see an ad for the very thing you were looking at a few days ago.

The biggest pro, however, is that those same worried consumers willingly give up their personal information for a more personalized experience and more relevant ads.

Is Personalized Marketing for You?

Personalized marketing takes some forethought. It’s not something you just jump in to – nothing marketing ever is. However, once it’s thought out, it’s a form of marketing that can be automated. Location-specific content, for example, is easily achieved after the setup.

-And setup should be the main consideration. Do you have the budget to set up your automated marketing? Before stepping into personalization, look at what you’ll have to have, and what kind of marketing system you need to implement.

Will you need a CRM, if you don’t have one already? Will you need website updates? Perhaps you’ll need specific content written, or email drip campaigns drafted. Learn what you need beforehand, so you know what to expect when you talk to your marketing team.

Don’t know where to start? Level343 LLC has been in the business of growing business for over 20 years. Let us put our expertise to work for you. Contact us to discuss your marketing needs.

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One of the most important breakthroughs in marketing was when companies realized they could personalize their messages and target an individual prospect.

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