Seven Smart Ways To Personalize Marketing

Photo by Jorge Franganillo on Unsplash

Cookie-cutter generic advertisements are a relic of the past, for good. There are few things more annoying on the internet than canned ads shot your way, again and again.

Which brings us to personalized ads. The best marketers all around the world are betting big on personalization — for a reason.

According to a recent McKinsey report:

Over three-quarters of consumers (76 per cent) said that receiving personalized communications was a key factor in promoting their consideration of a brand, and 78 per cent said such content made them more likely to repurchase.

The numbers are out, and it can’t be clearer. You NEED to personalize your marketing to grab your market’s attention.

The most scarce resource for many these days is attention, and for customers to take notice you need to show people you care enough to personalize your marketing.

Here are 7 smart things you can do to personalize your marketing

1. Relavent Reccomendations

There is no mentioning relevant recommendations without pointing out the admirable work Netflix and Amazon (among others) have been doing with recommendations to personalize the experience for their customers.

Netflix personalization has got so good that around 80% of all viewer activity is driven by its recommendation engine.

Amazon has 35% of its entire retail revenue coming from the sale of recommended products.

Personalizing customer experience requires you to just listen and observe. Here are a few ways to personalize recommendations:

  1. Based on demographics: What do people who belong to similar age/gender/locations have a greater chance of consuming?
  2. Item-to-item: Aid discovery by grouping people who buy similar products into buckets and cross recommending highly rated products?
  3. User behaviour: What movie are people more likely to watch, after watching The Pursuit of Happiness?

2. Personalized Messages

A food delivery aggregator app has a lions share of their orders coming in from home addresses as opposed to workspaces throughout the week. They also have more than 80% of their orders placed on Fridays, Saturdays and the Weekend.

The brand can personalize even outdoor and print ads with just this data.

Learning who the customer is and the ‘why’ behind their purchase helps brands deliver a more empathetic and tailored marketing message.

Two ways to personalize messages.

User behaviour: Rather than sending a single newsletter to all customers a diaper store can send content tailored for moms of 1-year-olds by looking at the diaper size she is checking out.

Cultural references: The local sports team won big? Send a targeted congratulatory message along with the promotional content?

3. Targetted Promotions

There is nothing like knowing about a sale right when you were planning on buying something.

The channel or product that does the timely promotion more often than not takes the wallet.

Targetted promotions can be done by:

Cohort behaviour: A group of people tend to purchase something during a certain time of the month or year? Create a promotion to maximize your share of the combined spending of the group.

Individual buying pattern: Target had been in this controversy where they sent an underage girl mailers with promotions of pregnancy care products.

The Dad duly sued Target.

After a few days, the girl confessed to being pregnant. Target had deciphered it all based on her cart.

Design promotions around what they are likely to buy next based on what they just bought.

4. Celeberate Milestones

If there is one thing ed-tech companies have borrowed well from the gaming industry it is gamification.

Badges and shields motivate not just kids learning algebra, but adult consumers as well.

Audible Badge Collection

Here are two more ways to celebrate milestones as a great way to personalize the experience.

Encourage good behaviour: A grocery delivery app can send a congratulatory message to a client who regularly purchases healthy food.

Encourage desired behaviour: A user who left their first review can be thanked with a short message on how their contribution will help others.

5. Post-purchase follow-up

Purchase is not an end-point, but merely a pit-stop on the customer-experience highway.

Great brands have devised thoughtful post-purchase marketing routines that make people feel belonged. A great post-purchase experience basically screams “You just made a great decision.”

A personalized post-purchase experience would improve loyalty and reduce churn like a charm.

A few ideas:

  1. Send a how-to video.
  2. Send an invite to an owners community on discord or slack.
  3. Send a mail with communication details if and when they need support.
  4. Request customers to write a review.

6. Triggers Based On Behavior

Check-in with your customer. Make people feel listened to.

Are they experimenting with a new genre of music? Notify them of a new related release. Haven’t seen them for a while? Ask.

Triggers based on behaviours are simpler (just like most other personalization methods referred to in this article) for digitally native brands.

Smart brick and mortar businesses though have been deploying triggers based on behaviours for a long time. Personalization need not always be built atop AI and ML.

Personalization based on behaviour can be a coffee shop directing employees to offer a complimentary cookie when the employee detects someone looks upset.

Brick and Mortar business, having said that, have been investing a lot more in AI and ML to drive personalization as it has been projected to boost profitability for retailers by up to 60% by 2035.

7. Extra Effort to Engage and Onboard New Comers

New customers are an entirely different ball game in most industries for two reasons — loyalty and friction.

Loyalty: People usually don’t leave one product or service they are accustomed to without a solid reason. Even though loyalty is different for each industry it could fall somewhere between 63% for retail, a low-loyalty industry to as high as 84% for media.

Add to the fact that 50% of all app uninstalls happen during the first month of install and 25% of apps are installed to be only used just once.

If you want them to stick, make sure you offer them a great initial experience.

Personalization is especially effective at driving repeat engagement and loyalty over time. Recurring interactions create more data from which brands can design ever-more relevant experiences — creating a flywheel effect that generates strong, long-term customer lifetime value and loyalty. — Next in Personalization 2021 Report by McKinsey.

Friction: A lot of people who buy from a new company for the first time have had a difficult experience with a brand they were used to. It is not easy to change brands, even in retail. People face a situation where the pain of staying loyal to a brand exceeds the pain of picking a new one. Pain, nevertheless.

Brands should not only be grateful for new customers but actually put in the effort to make sure they feel at home.

Personalizing the new customer experience can go a long way in cementing loyalty and creating a first impression that lasts.

Bonus: Personalize Customer Experience with a Tailored UX

A great UX is subjective. An app UI that is a crowd favourite in China might be too cluttered for the American palette.

Delivering a UX that matches your ideal target’s pallette to the T should be the goal of all UI/UX engagements. Here are a few pointers:

Language — don’t just translate, localize.

Colours, font, font size and alignment — put in the work to understand what makes your audience click.

Navigation — If there is only one thing you can do to personalize the customer experience, go for easier navigation. 75% of customers cite easier navigation as the most important personalizing action, especially when purchasing for the first time.


Personalization in marketing is proving to be increasingly important for companies across industries. Personalized marketing actions and tactics has shown to improve revenue by up to 40%.

Even in Industries such as CPG where personalization is considerably more difficult, brands that grew the fastest were more likely than the slow growers to deploy personalization.

If you were a personalization skeptic, I hope this article convinced you to reconsider. A more personalized experience improves lives of customers and revenue for businesses.

If you are pro-personalization, I believe you found this article to be a solid validation, and moreover hope you got some tangible ideas to work with.

Thank you for reading this article. Please share your feedback. Subscribe for more content on marketing, DTC, leadership and analytics. Please drop a clap if you found this of some value. Cheers.




Growth Obsessed Fractional CMO.

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Tijo Philip

Tijo Philip

Growth Obsessed Fractional CMO.

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