Your Step-by-Step Guide for Creating a Humanized Personalization Strategy


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, February 22, 2021

Personalization is no longer the preserve of a few forward-thinking marketers but expected by customers. Overlook it at your peril.

Article 5 Minutes
Your Step-by-Step Guide for Creating a Humanized Personalization Strategy

Personalization is a huge marketing trend and one that’s unlikely to go away any time soon. So what does the future of personalization look like and what can you do to ensure all the effort you put into your strategy amounts to success?

Research and insight

The right foundations for your personalization strategy require research and insight. This data will inform your ideation and enable you to create customized messaging that’ll be effective for your audience. The better quality your insights, the better the results you can expect to achieve. There are three types of personalized insights to look into:

  • Deductive research - start with your assumptions about your customer base and how they’ll react to certain messages, then conduct experiments to validate or disprove these ideas
  • Inductive research - natural segments that emerge through your existing A/B testing can lead you towards generalized personalization hypotheses
  • Customer self-selection - asking your audience to self-identify and segment themselves offers another layer of personalization for a more rounded view of your customers

Keep the human touch in the digital space

Just because you’re engaging with your audience online doesn’t mean you have to lose the human touch. Among the methods to employ to maintain a sense of authenticity are chatbots, industry stakeholders and new and innovative types of advertising. Tap into the public image of those behind your company and let their personalities shine through.

Put your customers’ needs at the center of your landing pages

Getting to know your customers is very important, but using this information to customize your content is even more crucial. While many marketers think about personalizing the content for their blog posts, many overlook the landing pages on their websites. These are just as important, or even more so as they’re more permanent features of your site, and will benefit from a move away from generic copy. Use your personas to specifically craft answers to your customers’ queries and pain points for a more effective marketing push.

Use your customers’ first names

Something as simple as using your audience’s first names can have a huge impact. Back in 2014, Coca Cola launched its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign in which its iconic logo was replaced with the 250 most popular names in America on the side of bottles. This move meant customers felt that Coke was talking straight to them and was hugely successful. Not only did it boost sales, but it led to an exponential uptick in posts featuring Coca Cola bottles on social media.

Twitter screenshot of a user holding a coke bottle with their name from the famous 'Share a coke' Coca-Cola campaign in 2014, an example of personalization in marketing

Push the boundaries by building an app

There are levels of personalization that can be achieved in an app that can’t be delivered through other media. For example, the beauty brand Sephora has developed a virtual reality app to allow its customers to “try on” its products prior to purchase. It’s this type of experience that led the company to take the top spot in the 2018 Retail Personalization Index. The nature of the products or services you purvey will have an impact on the type of personalization you can offer, but delving into the realm of app creation opens up multiple opportunities.

Create a smart personalized recommendation system

Many digital retailers have a recommendation process built into their online store to help upsell products, but to make the most of this potential, it needs to be personalized. Having the almost savant ability to predict which products customers are likely to be interested increases your chance of getting extra sales.

“Create the ‘Spotify recommendation algorithm’ for your content marketing. If you have a deep bench of content for a user to choose from, a personalized recommendation system that takes into account browsing preferences, favorite topics, and content types is a great idea.” - Deborah Carver, principal consultant at The Content Technologist

Take personalization beyond digital and into the physical space

Once you’ve got your personalization sorted out online, it’s time to go a step further and systematically deploy these tactics in the physical space. Retailers that tap into personalization for store visits will see the benefits. McKinsey & Company predicts offline in person experiences will be the next frontier for personalization.

McKinsey’s study found 44% of CMOs expect frontline employees to rely on insights from advanced analytics to aid in personalization; 40% say personal shoppers will be able to use AI-enabled tools to offer better service; and 37% predict facial and location recognition techniques, as well as biometric sensors will be the norm.

Make personalization your USP

In a marketing world where personalization is becoming the norm as opposed to the exception, some businesses are putting it at the heart of what they do. For example, Stitch Fix’s USP  is to send customers five pieces of clothing and they simply send back the ones they don’t want to keep.

The clever part of the process is that the items are chosen based on a series of questions the customer is asked to determine their sense of style. It encourages brand loyalty as the longer a customer uses the service, the more sophisticated its ability to understand their likes and dislikes become. This is likely to lead to more sales and happier clients.

Mimicking the relationship between a customer and a personal stylist or even a close friend is a type of personalization most people don’t expect from a brand. Taking the trying on process into the comfort of their own home increases the chances of a sale further.

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