Personalization In An Age Of Generalization


 A book that has had profound impact on my life is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People.” In it, Carnegie writes about how when we meet someone for the first time and we introduce ourselves, we often immediately forget the other person’s name. This is not uncommon and it usually stems from us wanting to make a good first impression, as we are more focused on how we are being perceived rather than focusing on the other person.  However, just because this is a natural tendency doesn’t mean we should just accept it. Carnegie said, “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” which is basically a layup for companies who have a plethora of data and want to make a great impression on their consumer. Though marketers and advertisers have been utilizing personalization tactics for decades now, in 2021, it will be more crucial than ever for your company to be speaking directly (in a none intrusive manner) to your consumer as inauthenticity can be sniffed out almost immediately. 


          Before we can move into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to say up front that your efforts to reach your customers in a scalable, practical, and successful way are all determined by how good your data collection is. Depending on how you approach this, data can be collected, whether through email list segments or surveys, to gain a better understanding of who your consumer is and what they want.  Now, let’s look at the benefits of personalizing your message to your costumers in the points below.


The main benefit of personalizing your advertising is the opportunity to truly reach your specific target audience. After you have collected your data, either with list segments or surveys, you are better prepared to launch successful email campaigns.  Email marketing platforms are essential to every advertising and marketing stack and are considered to be the best channel to reach customers through. According to research done by Dynamic Yield, if you want customers to open your email, it better be personalized as it’s intended to be one–to-one, or else your email will fall into spam purgatory (so, essentially the trash). 


When we approach the digital space of advertising, personalization should still be top of mind. In a survey put together by Infosys, 86 percent of customers would admit that personalization has an impact on what they’d purchase; and one quarter say personalization “significantly influences” their purchasing decisions.  Users respond to relevance and trust. So, anything that deviates from these practices will not see the conversions they’d hoped for. The way to do this is through clear branding. Your post-click landing page should reflect every campaigns ad you run. This means your headline, logo, and brand colors should all be cohesive in order to reinforce your brand identity. This will give the customer reassurance that they are in the correct place while delivering what was promised through the ad.


Your brand identity should span through your entire library of social media platforms.  How you interact on here matters immensely as it is basically the voice of your company. We see this in how Facebook utilizes video content when you have a birthday with a family member or a long time mutual friend. It creates a full montage of all your pictures together with that person and truly brings a personalized feel as it only holds value with you and your friends/family. 

Retargeting campaigns are also super effective, especially when they are merged with personalization. Retargeting occurs when a targeted ad is sent to possible customers who have already interacted with your ad in one way or another. This could be someone who visited your site for a bit, read blog post, watched one of your videos, etc. These possible customers could be then be targeted with personalized messages based on what they had looked at. For instance, I go on after looking at an ad and look at a pair of specific sneakers. I may feel as though I like the sneakers, but can’t afford them at the time so I leave the site. When I go to another Facebook page or am scrolling through Instagram, I’ll see an ad for those sneakers. But what do you do about previous or existing customers? Well, if you have ever had a pop up say something like, “it’s been a while” or “We’ve missed you” when you go on a site, then you are part of a re-engagement campaign. This can make customers feel like they are really being spoken to and may reflect on their current standing with your business. 

Another way to engage your customers in a more personalized way is through polls or on Instagram or Snapchat. These are relatively easy to implement but really allow your customers to engage with your brand in a completely different way. 

In a study done by McKinsey, personalization reduces acquisition costs as much as 50 percent, lifts revenue by 5 to 15 percent, and increases the efficiency of marketing spend by 10 to 30 percent. 

It takes time to find out how to bring a more personalized experience to your audience and depends on your vertical, but based on the data and our own human desire, theirs nothing sweater than the sound of your own name.