5 Companies that Have Taken Personalization Marketing to the Next Level


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

It was once seen as the cutting edge of marketing, but personalization has quickly become an integral tactic for many marketers. When employed effectively, it can help you promote customer loyalty, increase order values and tackle content fatigue.

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5 Companies that Have Taken Personalization Marketing to the Next Level

Personalization is no longer an advanced marketing tactic that only yields results for companies with huge budgets. It becomes an integral part of many marketing strategies, helping you to win more customers, drive higher average orders and prevent content fatigue.

Far from viewing it as invasive, consumers love personalization - provided it’s done intelligently. A study from Infosys found that nine in ten consumers say personalization has had an impact on what they purchase, while one in four admit it has a significant effect on their buying decisions.

Starbucks, with its much-praised customer loyalty app, is often cited as a brand that understands personalization and executes it brilliantly. But personalization isn’t just about selling coffee. From ecommerce to video streaming, a wide range of companies are using it to take their marketing efforts to the next level. Here are five of our favorite examples:

1. Amazon

The ecommerce giant is practically in a league of its own when it comes to behavioral targeting, predictive modeling and personalization, thanks in large part to the wealth of customer data at its disposal.

Sending abandoned basket emails has become commonplace for all online retailers, but Amazon takes things a step further. Using powerful algorithms, it creates a personalized homepage for users based on their browsing and purchase history, as well as providing regular “frequently bought together” and “customers who bought this item also bought” prompts.

It really works. According to McKinsey & Company, 35% of Amazon purchases are driven by the site’s product recommendations. Simply put, people are often happy to accept that Amazon knows best - and that’s down to the strength of its algorithms.

2. Netflix

The video-on-demand space has never been more competitive, with big hitters like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu battling it out with network-specific platforms such as HBO GO. Netflix relies strongly on personalization to retain customers in the face of all that rivalry.

In the same way that Amazon uses algorithms to flag up relevant products to shoppers, Netflix recommends content based on what you’ve watched before. But that’s not all; it also creates personalized movie covers to highlight actors it knows you’re familiar with.

Again, McKinsey & Company ran the numbers and discovered that 75% of content viewed on Netflix comes directly from the platform’s recommendations engine.

3. Nike

Nike has always strived to be at the cutting edge of marketing and audience engagement, so it’s no surprise that the sportswear brand is so good at personalization.

To tie in with last summer’s World Cup, Nike leveraged its acquisition of consumer analytics firm Zodiac to create personalized content targeted at consumers in different regions.

Rather than investing in one big ad, Nike produced a 19-minute documentary on the Nigeria team, along with similar content aimed at fans of Brazil and Russia. This was supplemented with native mobile content, centered around the Cristiano Ronaldo video series “Believe”.

“It is increasingly difficult to create a single, one-size-fits-all piece of content, but when we are more specific in the story related to consumer interests and channel, we’re more relevant and thus more effective.” - Jesse Stollak, vice-president of global football brand marketing, Nike


4. Stitch Fix

It may be less well-known than the other brands on this list, but Stitch Fix deserves recognition for placing personalization at the heart of its business model and using it to build brand loyalty.

The online retailer gauges customers’ style preferences by asking a series of questions. Using this data, a stylist hand-picks five items for the shopper in question. These pieces are dispatched to the customer’s home, where they can try everything and only pay for the items they want to keep. The rest can be sent back free of charge (provided at least one item is purchased).

The brand stresses the importance of regular feedback, even for items that customers keep. The genius of this approach is that the longer you remain a Stitch Fix customer, the better it gets at understanding what you like and dislike - and the more you buy.

5. Sephora

The global beauty brand’s unparalleled focus on building the perfect customer journey saw it ranked at number one in the 2018 Retail Personalization Index.

Sephora’s success has been fueled by its seamless approach to unifying the user experience across digital platforms and its network of 2,300 physical storefronts. Customers can track purchase locations, choose between their favorite store locations and quickly find their nearest branch.

Other popular features include a retention program that offers in-store experiences - such as appointments with beauty professionals, or the opportunity to redeem deluxe products - to loyal customers, as well as a virtual reality app that allows shoppers to “try on” different types of makeup.

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