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What is personalization?

In marketing, personalization is the act of recording user data for the purpose of recommending tailored advertisements and experiences that cater to the user’s unique needs. It increases the chance that an ad will create a meaningful connection between the customer and the business. After all, everyone is different. An advertisement for an alcoholic drink will not have the same effect on a group of people who are pregnant, and one for medication will not properly impact someone in perfect health.

Common examples

Personalization is something that popular companies have already been utilizing for years. One reason users are drawn to the music streaming site Spotify is that their service is unique, tailored to each individual listener depending on their music taste. The app collects data based on what songs or podcasts each listener has enjoyed and recommends new content related to that history. And, at the end of every year Spotify contacts all of its users with messages containing info for their “Spotify Wrapped” campaign. The users get to see some of the info collected about them throughout the year including how many hours they listened to music, their favorite songs, favorite podcasts, most streamed albums, and more. This effort at personalization is very frequently shared on social media by excited users that are proud of their listening history, and as a result provides the company with a lot of free advertising.

Similarly, Netflix uses recorded user data to recommend shows and movies to users based on their viewing history. This form of personalization is a huge draw to Netflix, and it clearly works as it is the most prominent video streaming service on the planet. No two Netflix homepages look exactly alike because of the nature of recommendations and accessibility of previously viewed content on the site.

Why use it?

One specific reason that personalization is used in marketing is for targeted shopping experiences through data collection. While this might sound like something that can only be done online, the Westfield Shopping Complex bent this expectation in 2015. The shopping mall successfully incorporated cameras and sensor technology into their brick and mortar setting to determine attributes and moods of customers in order to show advertisements that have a higher likelihood of response. For example, if a camera detects that a customer looks happy, that directly affects the next advertisement they are shown. The technology considers many personal characteristics to ensure the effectiveness of the ad.

Capitalizing on personalization is the ability to take the path of least resistance to a sale. One size fits all advertising is always an option, but often leaves potential customers feeling misunderstood or alienated. Instead, offering a tailored experience can not only impact the customer in a positive way, but also yield a higher likelihood of the business utilizing it to close on a sale. In a 2019 study, it was found that 71% of customers wished that their shopping experience was more personalized.

In general, people do not react well to being forced to interact a certain way, and marketing is no different. Allowing customers to have control over their experiences can ensure that they see your business in a positive light. Incorporating certain user preference options into your website can improve your customers’ overall experiences. This includes:

  • Having a dark and light mode setting
  • Incorporating the ability to turn notifications on or off
  • Having an accessible search bar
  • Making pricing info easy to find

On top of user preferences, building a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on your site can streamline issue solving times, and even save your business time and money in the long run. Reportedly, 80% of potential customers claim that they are more likely to order from a company that personalizes their experience.

Marketing tips

Now that we have established the importance of personalization, let’s establish some marketing tips to consider moving forward:

Collect Data
Collecting user data is the key to properly personalizing your services. Ensuring that you know who your audience is made up of can make a world of difference.

Organize your Content
Once you have your data collected, you need to understand how to use it to your advantage. Having content already organized according to different demographics makes you prepared for all types of potential customers. If you happen to find a group of people that respond well to a product or service, it benefits both you and them to put the relevant information somewhere that they can easily access it.

Personalize Email Campaigns
This is one that is extremely popular among large and small companies these days. It could be as simple as an email highlighting items that data has shown certain types of customers will purchase, abandoned cart emails, or otherwise. If you own a business that sells clothes, and a customer abandoned their cart with a pair of socks left in it, why not send them an email recommending other sock brands? If there is a specific reason that the customer did not want that particular item, then there is still a chance you could salvage the sale by offering an alternative.

Improve user perception

Using data to create personalized experiences for potential customers leaves them feeling individual in a world largely consisting of one size fits all advertising. Businesses benefit from higher likelihood of sales and customers appreciate feeling special, so putting thought into who your ads are shown to can help both parties. Beyond advertising, personalization can greatly improve user perception of your business’s website, brand, and products.