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  • Writer's pictureStanton Willins

Use Personalization and Take a Vacation

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Hopefully we can all agree that, at this point in Marketing’s history, personalization has essentially become table stakes (i.e. most consumers’ expectations) for marketers. Furthermore, it’s been well established that the use of personalization in your communications can:

  1. Increase activity through higher open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement.

  2. Improve customer experience by delivering content that is relevant to their needs and interests.

  3. Facilitate higher conversion rates such as making a purchase, signing up for a service, or taking advantage of a promotion.

  4. Reduce unsubscribes and spam complaints by tailoring to the recipients' interests.

And while your father might have customized every email he sent by hand (uphill and in the snow), you now have the benefit of programing in data driven personalization. Having been in the space for quite some time, here are some things to consider as you begin, or ramp up, your use of personalization in your marketing:


You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Depending on your background, maybe you don’t feel comfortable adding code to personalize your messaging. Sometimes new marketers aren’t even aware of the cool customizations you can add into your messages. For example, maybe you have different content blocks of copy based on how recent their last purchase was, or by their average level of spend.

The good news is that most campaign management tools embed user-friendly means to implement personalization. Some MarTech platforms even have mechanisms for you to test and see the expected personalization for QA purposes. And if that weren’t enough, you’re fortunate to live in a time where there are so many additional resources for learning (blog posts, Chat GBT, videos, etc.).

Garbage In, Garbage Out

One great way to kill your personalization ambitions is by having poor data quality. This could manifest itself as erroneous demographic information, poor/legacy data formatting, or unruly data cycles where Marketing’s source data is not in sync with the enterprise data for things like: web pages viewed, subscription preference changes, etc. Therefore, it’s paramount to find clean and reliable data to ensure the success of your personalization initiatives. Talk to your IT teams, they can help you!


Don’t Be a Creep

Personalization is a powerful tool in a Marketer’s utility belt, but if used improperly, it can quickly turn from “hey, they know me” to “whoa, how did they know that about me?!” There’s a classic use case from around 2012 where Target was able to predict which consumers may be expecting a baby solely based on their purchasing habits. A woman’s pregnancy is a very

personal thing, so sending any sort of message explicitly recognizing this life event feels like one step too far. However, subtly sending images including babies or coupons for diapers allows you to personalize without crossing the line.


By embracing personalization effectively and responsibly, marketers can forge stronger connections with their audience, deliver tailored experiences, and achieve greater marketing success.


If you liked this post, then you may be keen to read up on our Reverse ETL post – for getting the right data in your marketing technology stack to help you personalize things!


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