Why Basic Personalization is No Longer Enough

By Jennifer Choo


Personalization as a practice has come a long way from the early days of adding %%name%% to your email greeting. As technology evolves and the depth of data collection becomes infinite, so too will the personalization capabilities of our marketing efforts. 

It’s no secret that the backbone of marketing is identifying one’s target market and creating messaging tailored specifically to potential buyers. The concept of personalization has been part of the marketing narrative for decades. In reality it is the underlying methodologies and depths of hyper-personalization that has evolved immensely over time. 

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With the rise of the internet and universal expansive databases like the cloud came an influx of audience data at the disposal of the marketing community. As consumer data collection became more prevalent, so did the use of that data.

Many marketing teams took to utilizing this data to create basic personalization in their marketing. Meaning they included attributes like name and location to enhance their marketing strategies. As a direct result, there was an uptick in customer engagement. Which, in turn, created a use case for teams to vie for more data and more specific customer data at that. 

In fact,

According to the 2019 Trends in Personalization Report by Researchscape International and Evergage, Inc., the majority of marketers (98%) agree that personalization helps advance customer relationships. 

Advanced data collection opened the door for brands to clearly identify who their ideal buyers were. This allowed them to create highly personalized campaigns. More specifically, marketing campaigns that  appealed to each persona type and personality of their existing and potential customers. 

In the years since, personalization has evolved into a standard contextual marketing practice. A method that gets more in depth as time and technology advances. The insanity that has been 2020 so far, has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that personalization, on a highly detailed scale, is essential to marketing and business growth. 

In a nut shell, it is no longer enough send an email with simple forms of personalization. Adding a recipients name to an email has simply lost its impact, because, well, everyone is doing it. So what does modern marketing personalization look like? How is it evolving? And how in the world can you keep up with it? 

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Using Those Cookies

Thanks to web cookies that collect data and predictive analytics tools and software, and of course social media platforms, marketers can now learn anything and everything about their customers. Essentially, this means marketers can create custom messages that appeal to all of the different personas that make up their audience base. Not only that, we can also place the exact message they need in, the right place at the right time. 

Amazing right?

It really is. However, it is important to understand that utilizing data and predictive tools to hone in your personalization can be a tricky business. Especially in the current digital marketing landscape.

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Just as important is the ability to navigate the appropriate depth of personalization to infuse in your marketing. No one wants to cross a line with their customers. Rather we strive to relate and entice, not creep them out with content that is too wildly specific. Ethically utilizing extensive data and hyper-personalization to do so. 

Keeping it Ethical

Rapid growth of data mining and predictive technology software means that few regulations and boundaries have yet to be put in place. A perfect, highprofile example of overstepping boundaries and bypassing good moral standards with data mining, is the now notorious situation with Cambridge Analytica. This situation drove home the importance of making ethical decisions when leveraging such powerful software and sensitive data. 

Intelligent marketing teams took this lesson to heart. Aware that deeper methods of personalization need to be utilized to create successful marketing campaigns, many have begun utilizing user data in a deeper and more meaningful way. Doing their absolute best to implement strategy without violating user privacy. A perfect example of this is contextual marketing

Contextual Marketing

Contextual Marketing has taken over the past decade as a stellar example of utilizing personalization in digital marketing. But what exactly is it? Basically, contextual marketing is the utilization of consumer data to customize the content users see, based on their activities and preferences. 

Marketing practices today all tie back to the rise in connectivity and the call for convenience that customers crave.

Leaps and bounds beyond its basic personalization predecessor, i.e. a user’s name to a generic email, implementing contextualized marketing ensures that your consumers are seeing user relevant content. The basic premise here is to present consumers with information that they are looking for when and where they want/need it. 

With ever rising numbers of social media and app users, comes an increasing need for brands to appeal to consumers when, where and how is the most convenient to them. Contextual marketing and other methods of in-depth personalization make this practice simple for marketing teams of all shapes and sizes.

Keeping Up With The Trends

No matter the size of your business or marketing team, keeping up with personalization trends in marketing is a must. While it may seem overwhelming, many current marketing softwares and platforms enable teams to implement personalized contextual marketing strategies with ease. To put it simply, it’s all about the data. If you are collecting data on your users, you can utilize personalization in your marketing efforts. The more data points you collect, the deeper you personalization capabilities.

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In reality, the best way to enhance personalization in your marketing efforts is to allow your users to guide the way.

It’s not just about collecting the data, rather focusing on letting the data tell a story and turning that story into a customer journey to your products and services. 

Learning more about your consumers’ wants and needs will allow you to serve up marketing that appeals to them.

Bottom line, it’s all about presenting the products and services that consumers need when and where they will find them, thus eliminating the need for them to seek out your brand.

After all, the evolution of personalization is tied to user convenience. The more you can simplify the research and buying process for your consumers, the higher your appeal. Which means more successful marketing campaigns and higher ROI. 

Our Theory

Personalization as a practice has come a long way from the early days of adding %%name%% to your email greeting. As technology evolves and the depth of data collection becomes infinite, so too will the personalization capabilities of our marketing efforts. 

Keeping that in mind, it is key to keep up with the trends in personalization and allow your users to be your guide. The marketing game has always revolved around appealing to consumer wants and needs. The addition of personalization has taken the marketing teams ability to do that to a whole other level. 

In short, the best way to implement successful marketing campaigns is to imbue them with personalization unique to each consumer. Creating a customized feel and personalized touch projects a human element to your brand. A tactic that appeals to the consumers on an emotional level while creating a connection with your brand. 


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