Does Personalized Marketing Really Work?


Blanket marketing techniques are no longer as effective as they once were, if they were ever truly effective even then. Marketing personalization has changed the face of marketing and has improved the customer experience and personalized marketing can help your company's bottom line if done correctly.

However, some companies have tried and failed in instances where they overzealously applied customizations and appeared too "creepy" or appeared like they were "stalking". Some lazier companies used only the prospect's first name to later be shocked by the disappointing results (don't they realize consumers are wise to marketers who do this?). Other companies don't even know where to begin. In all these cases, the companies give up thinking it isn't worth it.

I know personally that I quickly make decisions on whether a message is relevant to me or not, whether offline or online. I believe most others do as well. In this article, we will discuss the importance of personalized marketing and the significant difference it can make.

What is Personalized Marketing?

According to Tyson Quick of Instapage,

"Personalized marketing is the practice of using data to deliver brand messages targeted to an individual prospect".

Today's improved analytics help to provide improved information on individual prospects. Improved information helps to guide companies in providing relevant brand messages to the prospect.

In regards to actual targeting, Syed Balki of says:

"Personalized marketing involves collecting data related to your customers and crafting marketing experiences that target specific types of customers through your content."

Korina Velasco of puts it best:

"Personalization, in other words, is about knowing your customers and using that knowledge to solve their problems, make their experiences smoother and better, and serve them the things they actually want and need."

Jen Murray of Emarsys states that the goal of personalized marketing:

"Is to truly engage customers or prospects by communicating with each as an individual BROKEN LINK HERE<<<<<".

Is Jen's stated goal for personalized marketing even possible without being "creepy"? I think so - in moderation. And I believe it is becoming more important these days for companies to do it and to strike the right balance.

Why is it Important to Reach Out to ProspectBs on a Personal Level?

According to Moosend, customers decide within a matter of seconds whether they love your marketing message. They also say that an individual receives 5000 marketing messages daily. I don't know if this figure is accurate, it's data they gathered from the New York Times, but you get the point. Among the barrage of messages a person gets daily, your message should be personalized to stand out and get the prospect's attention.

Jen Murray of Emarsys also believes that:

"Customer expectations are evolving. When customers provide their personal information, they want to be treated as an individual with unique traits."

Moreover, Jen Murray says,

"Customers are more comfortable providing personal information to their favorite brands if they get something in return. They fill out forms, download whitepapers, participate in surveys to get discounts, and indicate their favorite purchases or preferences."

And there is research that backs this up:

"What customers want, instead, is marketing personalization. According to an Epsilon survey of 1,000 consumers aged 18-64:"

  • 80% say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.
  • 90% claim they find personalization appealing.

According to research by Tyson Quick of Instapage.

Personalized vs Non-Personalized marketing

Tyson Quick of Instapage claims from research:

"McKinsey research shows personalization reduces acquisition costs as much as 50%, lifts revenues by 5-15%, and increases the efficiency of marketing spend by 10-30%. On the flipside:"

  • Irrelevant content generates 83% lower response rates in the average marketing campaign.
  • Lack of personalization and trust cost businesses $756 billion last year.

Korina Velasco of confirms stating:

"The time for mapping out endless customer journeys and shoe-horning your users into them is over. If you want to reap the benefits of true personalized marketing, jump past demographic data and guesswork and straight into the arms of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the behind-the-scenes tools that let you treat customers like true individuals."

I'm not sure AI and machine learning is the magic answer for personalization, but technology in combination with a company's human touch is a better solution than the traditional blanket marketing strategies.

So, if personalization is both possible and in demand, why are so many companies still struggling to get it right?

Just like any type of marketing channel, there are always hurdles to overcome. With personalized marketing the challenges are:

  • Identifying the Right Technology
  • This seems to be to be the biggest hurdle especially for smaller businesses with limited resources
  • Jen Murray of Emarsys puts it well: " Unfortunately, many marketers struggle to find a smart personalization engine that meets their needs."
  • Time and Resources
  • Identifying single customer profiles
  • Implementing appropriate segmentations to target

Research indicates that marketers these days are having difficulty across the board in these 4 areas.

Final Thoughts

Relevancy in marketing has to do with whether or not it is something I can use, or a topic that interests me, or perhaps something I've purchased recently. Otherwise my attention is not there at all. I believe that data-driven marketing that comes with marketing personalization is key to doing this in a balanced and respectful way. It is not easy, but well worth the effort. And I believe it needs to be mastered because it is becoming an absolutely necessary part of all marketing channels today.

What do you think? Is personalization a necessary part of marketing?

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