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November 4, 2020 - By Hawke Media

4 Ways to Personalize Your Marketing Strategy

With audiences experiencing more noise than ever before, brands are turning to hyper-personalized messages to connect with consumers at an individual level. New  technology continues to provide more insights into customer demographics and behavior, making personalization more accessible for businesses and more expected by consumers.  Sixty-seven percent of marketers plan to use data and improve personalization to grow their sales and retain customers. Integrate personalization into your marketing strategy using a data-driven approach.

What is Personalized Marketing?

Personalized marketing, or one-to-one marketing, caters to the unique wants and needs of your audience as individuals rather than as a group. Quite the opposite of mass marketing, which emphasizes quantity over relevance, personalized marketing is the practice of delivering unique experiences by identifying what consumers respond to on an individual level. By gaining an in-depth understanding of these individuals through constant data collection and analysis, brands can gather insights and ask themselves “what will we do differently with this information?”.

While personalizing a customer journey for each individual might seem daunting for most marketers (as illustrated in more detail by the table to the right from, companies that have adopted this approach have seen enormous growth in revenue and brand reputation.For companies limited on technology resources or in-house bandwidth, a marketing strategy agency can help find low hanging fruit, segment audiences, and flag other opportunities for enhanced personalization. 

Learn about building a buyer persona here

How to Personalize Your Marketing Strategy

Within the ecommerce realm, brands have the advantage of being able to capture a user’s data at multiple points along the customer’s journey and turn that data into actionable insights. Before going to the drawing board to personalize your marketing strategy, take some inspiration from the brand-defining examples below:

1 – Personalized Product Recommendations

In an age of ecommerce where consumers spend more time online, want immediate responses and have short attention spans, product recommendations are crucial to increasing revenue. Based on the customer’s shopping history, brands can recommend products that the customer is likely to purchase.

Several years ago, people discovered that Target assigned a ‘pregnancy prediction score’ to their shoppers based on their purchase history. They would then use this data to send timely coupons based on which trimester the expecting mother was in at the time. Conceptually, Target would be able to increase revenue by introducing shoppers to products they might not have known about and offering an incentive to purchase.

Video and music streaming platforms such as Netflix and Spotify also provide great examples. Netflix understood the importance of offering a curated list of recommended films and offered a $1 million prize for the best algorithm to predict user ratings for movies. Although they didn’t end up using the winner’s algorithm because of resource constraints, you can still see  “Recommended For You” titles when you’re scrolling through the platform.

2 – Personalized Emails

Personalized emails are a non-negotiable for any marketing strategy. Personalization in email can lead to an increase of 14% click-thru rate and boost conversion rates by 6 times, according to WP Forms. While it would be almost impossible to generate a unique email for every customer manually, the use of a customer relationship management system (CRM) will allow you to feed information into your email service provider (ESP) to create dynamic emails. Personalizing emails is more than merely using merge tags that replace “[FNAME]” with some information pulled from a column in a spreadsheet – it’s about delivering content based on the user’s demographics, psychographics, buying behaviors and more.

Some examples of this kind of personalization include sending special discounts on a customer’s birthday, recommended products based on previous purchases (sound familiar?), or abandoned cart follow-ups.d.

Brands must include the option to unsubscribe to stay compliant with email marketing regulations, but rather than offering an “unsubscribe from all emails” option, brands should provide an option to unsubscribe from specific types of emails such as Promotional, Daily, Weekly, Newsletters, etc. This customization of email preferences means you are more likely to maintain a touchpoint with the customer rather than losing them altogether.

For more email tips, check out: Email Marketing Best Practices

3 – Personalized Products and Packaging

The “Share a Coke” campaign is a great example of personalized packaging, especially considering the global scale of Coca-Cola. This multinational, annual summer campaign stocks bottles that replace the standard packaging with the phrase “Share a Coke with…” followed by 250 of the most common millennial first names along with some other terms such as “BFF,” “Bestie” and “Wingman.” This campaign first launched in Australia in 2011 and was brought to the US in 2014, generating the brand’s first increase in sales in over a decade. As each year passes, Coca-Cola continues to innovate on this campaign to keep customers interested.

Nike’s NikeID service allows customers to personalize and design their own shoes. Different colorways, materials and logos can be interchanged and customized to include initials or numbers so that the user can feel like those shoes were specifically designed for them. This is likely to have increased direct traffic to Nike’s website since customers would have to order through Nike rather than a retailer’s site such as Footlocker or Nordstrom. While Nike hasn’t released any sales figures specifically for the NikeID service, it’s likely to have contributed to the company’s revenue growth.

4 – Personalized Content

Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” In order to provide valuable, relevant, and consistent data to an audience, it only makes sense to treat your audience as individuals rather than a whole. By using engagement data, brands can ensure their content marketing efforts continually deliver content that educates, inspires or entertains their audience.

There are countless diffferent forms of content that can be personalized for an audience. Based on user behavior on a website, purchase trends, and search inquiries, a company can develop blogs, ebooks, witepapers, webinars, and more to meet the needs and curiosities of their audience. Supplement copy-based content with creative assets designed for virality or social media that makes your brand accessible to passive viewers. This creates a well-rounded approach that targets different formats at different stages in their customer journey to keep the users coming back. 

For more tips on content, check out: Content Marketing 101


Rather than thinking about your different customer segments as a group, it pays off to focus your efforts on how to reach individuals creatively as outlined by the examples above. Whether it’s delivering products, websites, content or experiences, take a look at all of the different touch points within your customer’s journey and prioritize which of these can be personalized in a meaningful way using a data-driven approach. Personalized marketing should be exciting! If it feels daunting, remember marketing strategy guidance and implementation from the right agency can have all the systems in place to implement these personalized plans right away.

Get a free consultation from Hawke Media