Tips & Tricks

Personalized Marketing: 29 Experts Reveal the Most Overlooked Aspects of Personalized Marketing (and Why They Matter)

Personalized marketing, once about broad segmentation and addressing customers or prospects by their first name in an email greeting, has undergone a major evolution. No longer is true personalization about segments and email greetings; today, personalization goes much deeper, addressing the unique needs, wants, and preferences of every prospect and customer – not based solely on segments or personas, but on the individual.

Naturally, that means that personalization is much more complex today than it’s ever been, making it easy for marketers to overlook some important components of creating a truly personalized customer experience. To help you make sense of the modern personalization landscape, we reached out to a panel of marketing pros and asked them to answer this question:

“What’s the single most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing (and why is it important)?”

Meet Our Panel of Marketing Professionals:

Find out what aspects of personalized marketing you might be missing by reading what our experts had to say below.


Hannah ParvazHannah Parvaz

@HannahParvaz

Hannah spent nearly a decade in the music industry before venturing into the startup world to look after the Digital Marketing and Growth at a fee-free ticketing app. After two years there, Hannah now heads up the Marketing at Drinki – the bar discovery app which gets you free drinks around London.

“Be personable…”

Your audience are people, too; never underestimate the value of connecting with them on a human level. With mobile, you can reach people at all times of the day, so think about the sort of messaging that resonates with you and then use parts of that in your comms.


Sarunas BudrikasSarunas Budrikas

@Angle180inc

Sarunas is the owner of a marketing agency Angle180. He is a web design and development expert who is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for each and every every client. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website to get the most ROI.

“Snail mail still works…”

Simply stated, handwritten mail sparks interest and dramatically increases your open rates. A quick tip: use both handwritten and printed text in your letter. It’ll be easy to read and bring a personal touch to your message. Web design industry emails receive around 20% open rate. However, handwritten snail mail opening is almost always guaranteed. In my experience, using direct mail got me 3 times as many responses.


Matt EdstromMatt Edstrom

@bioClarity

Matt Edstrom is the Head of Marketing at BioClarity.

“Know your competitors…” 

Although the value of conducting routine analysis on your competitors is invaluable, especially when personalizing a marketing campaign, it is one of the most overlooked datasets by business owners and marketing managers. Marketing managers often claim not to have the time, nor the personnel to analyze and track their competitors consistently and efficiently. However, by utilizing helpful software and tools, it doesn’t have to be so hard.

When it comes to effective competitor analysis and tracking, a great place to start is by utilizing the online tool, SEMRush.com.

By using SEMRush, you can track your competitor’s estimated organic traffic metrics, keyword rankings, backlink profile, paid search ads, and more – all in one place. Not only does SEMRush allow you to track and analyze all these valuable metrics, but it also lets you compare your metrics side by side with your competitors. Using a tool like this makes it quick and easy for you to export a domain vs. domain view of how you are stacking up against your competitors whenever you’d like.

Conducting routine analysis on your competitors will provide insight as to want marketing tactics are working and not working for them, as well as what marketing tactics are trending in your industry, allowing you to further personalize your marketing campaigns.


Danni LinDanni Lin

@greatwineusa

Danni Lin (B.S., M.S.) is the CEO of GREAT WINE, Inc.

“GREAT WINE, Inc. is a huge success in promoting the new drinking trend because personalization should not stop at packaging options…”

Taste in wine cannot be determined via an algorithm. However, we can definitely understand wine drinkers more via big data and data analytics. For example, what GREAT WINE’s customers do is that when they first come in for a tasting, they would do a vinotype test first. By comparing their results with other users of the same platform worldwide, we can do a statistics on what these people like and how these people like their food or coffee. Then, we match people with a wine we produced, tailor-made for that particular vinotype. Our experience tells us that taste cannot be determined, but certain wine preferences and even personal behavior can be predicted. For example, in our scientific study of the four vinotypes, the tolerant vinotype is often a whiskey lover, because alcohol may taste sweet but not irritating to them! These people are also those who enjoy strong smoky flavors of a drink.. In sum, we cannot determine what people like – people’s exploration of wine can start from GREAT WINE, but should not end at GREAT WINE. But with statistical methods, we are certainly in a better position to understand our clients.

Personalization successfully drives revenue up by at least 20%. To GREAT WINE, Inc., business leads do not come from personalized packaging of products, but from clients who want to share their experiences with their business partners. And, we now use this method to evaluate how great our clients’ experience with us was. We discover that clients introduce business partners to us because they would like to share their enjoyable moments with others, both online and offline. To GREAT WINE, clients are not paying for our products; they are casting a vote of trust on the quality of our wine in exchange of knowledge and great experience.


Mark NicholsonMark Nicholson

@markjnicholson

Mark Nicholson is the VP of Marketing at Nicejob.

“The most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing is…”

Leveraging current customers to do your marketing for you is through online reviews. Less than a third of businesses use this strategy.

Over 70% of customers will provide an online review when asked.

It all starts with the customer experience. Create a positive experience and most customers are willing to provide a positive review for a business.

This creates word of mouth referrals, which many marketers will agree are some of your best leads.


Yvette La-GardeYvette La-Garde

@VitaMedica

Yvette La-Garde is the COO at VitaMedica and a writer/speaker with over 20 years of experience in the health and wellness industry.

“In today’s digital landscape, consumers are accustomed to fast and convenient service from brands…”

A great tip to stand out from the pack is to create processes that personalize the customer journey. Especially in niche markets, companies need to prove to consumers (especially millennials) that they care about more than just sales. Providing personalization to both potential and existing customers through detailed emails and offers will create a VIP experience that will separate you from the competition. This personalization was instrumental during our first year of business.

According to the Harvard Business Review, it is five to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. A great way companies can add value and retain their customers is by cultivating VIP experiences only available to existing consumers.

Some additional tips to customize the consumer journey:

  • Segmented email campaigns for existing customers.
  • Messaging consumers on your website based on geographical location.
  • Follow-up emails after a completion of a sale that offer advice, tips, and other information related to their purchase.
  • Birthday coupons and general birthday programs.


Rhonda ReesRhonda Rees

@ReesRhonda

Rhonda Rees is an award-winning PR/marketing expert, entrepreneur, author, speaker, and advocate, in charge of Rhonda Rees Public Relations Company.

“The single most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing involves public relations…”

It’s not enough to gain coverage in the media (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, online) and hope that it will lead to your phones ringing off the hook. Oftentimes, people don’t see the information or hear about it the first time around. Instead you have to actually work it. You can post the information to your website or blog, or send out through social media.

You can also do a direct mail marketing campaign by distributing the info to your clients and prospects, or by having reprints made to hand out at trade shows. Additionally, saying something on a flyer or brochure can also never hurt.

These are some tried-and-true marketing methods combining good PR that have never gone out of style, and that I have personally relied on for many successful years.


Jim PorterfieldJim Porterfield

@jim_psm

Jim Porterfield is the Chief Marketing Officer of Pinsight Media.

“The most overlooked aspect to personalized marketing is…”

Having the understanding of how and when people shift personalities throughout a day. Even with the significant advancements in data, marketers still have a tendency to want to label or categorize consumers based on their general demographic profile (i.e. millennials, moms, Baby Boomers, etc.). Our lives are fluid and it is key for marketers to glean the insights to be able to pin point these shifts. For instance, when does the 35 year-old woman shift from workout enthusiast to a mom, from a mom to business professional and how can you maximize those short windows of opportunity?


Kevin LeeKevin Lee

@Kevin_Lee_QED

Kevin Lee is the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Didit, a leading digital agency founded in 1996. Kevin is an industry pioneer in search engine marketing, but his marketing expertise extends beyond SEM/SEO into social and display media as well as other forms of digital marketing.

“When it comes to the single most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing…”

My opinion is that Direct mail that includes promotional codes or personalized URLs (PURLS) to provide a personalized discount or special offer are under-used, adding Promotional codes can drive mobile traffic or create the feeling in the recipient that they are special. Personalized URLS or promotional codes also make the user experience on the landing page more seamless since the marketer already has all the information about the individual (whether they were direct mailed the personalized promotional code or emailed the promotional code/PURL).


Mike BrownMike Brown

@fisiononline

Mike is the CEO of FISION, a leading provider of cloud-based digital asset management and sales enablement technology. FISION specializes in managing an enterprise’s brand and marketing content, enabling marketing, and salespeople to quickly and easily create, distribute and measure the performance of compelling, localized, on-brand communications.

“While technology has completely changed the way we’re marketing…”

All too often marketers cannot, won’t, or don’t localize their content while maintaining brand consistency and legal compliance. Organizations spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create amazing experiences for their customers, but often front-line employees need marketing material on the fly, and they’re resorting to creating things to communicate or connect with customers that marketing departments would abhor. As executives, we must empower our front-line team members with tools that allow them to create localized brand messaging for their individual customer needs. As marketers, we must focus on ways to create experiences for our customers that cater to who they are and the contexts in which they live and work. Say their name, speak to them in their language, and answer the right question at the right time, embrace the technology that makes that really simple, and you might just have a customer for life.


David MitroffDavid Mitroff

@DavidMitroff

David Mitroff, Ph.D. is business consultant, marketing expert, and keynote speaker who founded Piedmont Avenue Consulting, Inc., where he advises on leveraging new technology to create brand awareness, strengthen loyalty and streamline processes with proven results.

“Personalized marketing is a great way to gain and strengthen customer loyalty to any brand…”

Clients and customers want to feel important to a brand or to another business individual. The single most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing is just that – being personal with your customers or clients. In any kind of business, it is not only important to build relationships but to maintain them as well. Some examples of this would be sending follow-up emails after a meeting or even a thank you letter to a client. You want to add their name in any outreach and show them you are appreciative of their business. Any type of personalization outreach is a great way to grow and maintain these relationships.


Varda Meyers EpsteinVarda Meyers Epstein

@epavard

Varda Meyers Epstein is a content writer and SEO at Kars for Kids.

“I cringe when I see people share content on social media with the same comment on different groups and pages…”

What a waste! Use the share wisely by varying the language you use to introduce your share. Otherwise, you get known as a spammer and people will just delete your posts sight unseen. I spend 45 minutes promoting each new piece of content. I think long and hard about how to frame each share. That strategy is getting results.


Glenn CarterGlenn Carter

@casual_glenn

Glenn Carter is the Owner of The Casual Capitalist.

“The single most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing is…”

Not only not having a website – this is critical these days – but not keeping it up-to-date. As a solopreneur and expert, you need to show that you are the expert in your niche. Your website should contain regular blog posts, a sleek and updated design, and have industry commentary that will show potential clients you know what you’re talking about. Focusing only on Upwork for leads is a mistake. You need a website, and it needs to be current and contemporary in its design.


Josh BraatenJosh Braaten

@jlbraaten

Josh Braaten is the CEO and Co-founder of Brandish Insights, the world’s first brand analytics platform. He is responsible for sales, product, and marketing functions within his startup, and before that has had direct experience setting up dozens of marketing strategies and technology stacks over the years.

“In a nutshell: technology is still a huge barrier for personalization…”

Personalization is a tactic you can employ only after you’ve done a lot of other things right. You have to integrate tracking codes everywhere. You have to have a customer relationship management (CRM) or marketing automation tool with reliable data for subscribers. And then you have to figure out a way to integrate personalized marketing across disparate systems like your website, email platform, and advertising.

It can be a struggle for many marketing teams. Tools like Drip, Optimizely, and RightMessage are making it easier to personalize marketing, but the methodology is still in its infancy relative to other marketing tactics.


James NuttallJames Nuttall

@JamesNuttall_

James Nuttall is a Content and Outreach Specialist for giffgaff.

“Testing the personalization before launching your marketing strategy is…”

An often-overlooked aspect of personalized marketing. While having a personalized marketing campaign is a great idea, which can boost engagement, sales and subscriptions, it’s absolutely vital that you know the right marketing collateral is going to the right people.

If your collateral is peppered with spelling mistakes or even addressed to the wrong person, this can have a hugely detrimental impact on your strategy. It can make your company look sloppy, which is the last thing you want when the whole point of personalized marketing is to show your customers that you care about them and their individual needs.


Oli Russell-CowanOli Russell-Cowan

@RadSeason

Oli Russell-Cowan is the Founding Director of Rad Season, the world’s the world’s first platform bridging the industry gap between online travel agent, event directory, and media. He has over 15 years experience in International business development, spanning multiple industries including Events, Media, Digital, Action Sports, Travel and Tourism.

“Mapping out customer research journeys is a key aspect of personalized marketing that often goes overlooked…”

Customer research journeys are visualizations of end-to-end customer experiences, including search terms, channels of discovery and points of brand interaction. By identifying key points within the journey that will change the conversation and types of personalization, you can more appropriately recognize where the consumer would expect a personal interaction and where it would feel like a sales pitch.


Kristina McCannKristina McCann

Kristina McCann is a Broker Associate for Alain Pinel Realtors.

“As a Realtor, I send out personalized marketing every week…”

I also collect other examples of other Realtors’ marketing. What always astounds me, after putting in designing, printing, mailing, and stamp expenses….they don’t bother to hand-write the note. For me, after going to the extents that I do to create a mailer, I have to take the time to hand write the message, and my results are huge!

 


Bob EllisBob Ellis

@CuckooClocks4U

Bob Ellis is the owner of Bavarian Cuckoo Clock Shop, an e-commerce store that sells authentic Black Forest cuckoo clocks.

“I believe the most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing is real life conversations…”

We are in a digital era where most marketing efforts take place online. Whether it’s email, social media, SEO, or content marketing, the vast majority of interactions with potential customers is not human to human communication. In my opinion, getting on the phone or attending a trade show to speak with your customers directly it still an effective way to develop authentic relationships. There is no replacement for speaking to another person in order to learn about their needs and preferences.


Natalie FrankeNatalie Franke

@nataliefranke

Natalie Franke is the Head of Community at HoneyBook and leads organic marketing efforts for the rapidly growing tech start-up.

“When personalizing your marketing efforts…”

Always use the person’s name in your communications efforts. It sounds simple, however it has a significant psychological impact.

Being able to call someone by name and use it with intentional care throughout your communication efforts increases levels of trust between you and your customers. Using someone’s name communicates: “I see you and you matter to me.”

Many psychologists argue that a person’s name is deeply connected to their sense of individuality and perception of self. Historically, a person’s name is one of the first words that they learn as an infant and carry throughout life as a marker of their individuality. During some of the most transformative months of brain development, babies learn to identify their name and it serves as a mechanism for capturing their attention.


Stan TanStan Tan

@stanleyreporb

Stan Tan is the digital marketing manager at Selby’s, Australia’s leading printing and signage company.

“The single most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing is…”

Market segments of your customers. Most customers (especially B2B clients) want to know that other people like them have tried your product or service. The truth is the majority of people don’t like to be the test hamster.

For example, if you are a café, you want to know that other cafés have tried this new digital menu and have had success with it.


Sid SoilSid Soil

@DOCUdavit

Sid Soil is the Owner/Founder of DOCUdavit Solutions Inc.

“The most important aspect of personalized marketing is…”

Automation. When it comes to personalized marketing, there is one major inefficiency – it takes time to be personal. One of the most important and overlooked aspects of personalized marketing is introducing automated processes that maintain a personal touch. Most email marketing solutions now offer the ability to automate emails, and add a touch of personalization by applying specific attributes and data fields. For example, an e-mail can be sent automatically, but can be set to include an individual’s name and location, and only be shown after they have opened a previous e-mail. Personalized e-mails are great, but those who win in personalized marketing are those who can be extremely personal without having to spend an excess amount of time in doing so.


Bret BonnetBret Bonnet

@qualitylogo

Bret Bonnet is a co-owner/founder of Quality Logo Products, a $40M distributor of promotional products located in Chicago, IL.

“The most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing is…”

Properly conveying your message to your customer. Most personalized marketing relies on user preferences, demographics, geography, etc. to create small target groups for which to tailor messages in hopes the offer will better resonate with groups. But what people miss/ignore most of the time is the need to make sure not only that the offer makes sense, but that the language they use is easy to understand. Some target groups might get it, and almost expect what is traditionally considered jargon in their messages, while other users might be on the opposite side of the spectrum. For those users, you’ll want to use as plain of terms as possible to make sure they understand what you’re trying to get across.

When you make your messages simple for all audiences to understand, you’ll connect with more (potential) customers, which is better news for your business. When people get frustrated trying to understand your content, they’ll just instantly leave your page-and that gets you nowhere as a business!

The best way to test for message clarity is to gather small test groups of people outside of your company and have them read your message and explain what they thought it meant. When you use test groups, you won’t have to worry about spending a ton of money on constantly re-doing or re-wording your online presence! You’ll know exactly what to change and you’ll only have to do it once until you decide to re-brand your business.

At the end of the day, it’s more than just targeting your audience. You also need to speak each group’s language because everything ultimately relates back to your CUSTOMERS!


Nick SawinyhNick Sawinyh

@sawinyh

Nick Sawinyh is a proud father, husband, and corgi-owner. He’s been working in the SEO industry for more than ten years. He loves finding new trends that affect technologies that impact the world of telecommunications and web. Nick is a Product Manager at Seomator.

“Your marketing strategy needs to not only extend to a variety of people…”

But it also has to be personalized and easy to use. People forget to find a good balance between both.

A good place to start is your website. Implement a structured A/B testing method; there are various good tools to choose from. Consider what your audience wants to see. Think about ways to lead your customers from whatever their first purchase or service was to what would be in their best interest to invest in next. Find a way for them to easily search this out like accessing their history of purchase and services in the past, which will lead to intelligent and useful recommendations for what they want to do next. This is done by implementing an online purchasing tool on your website. If your customers typically call by phone then the person answering the phone should have quick and easy access to this.

In this way, you personalize your marketing; you are making it very easy and effective for them to use, which in return will bring them back, creating a faithful client. Every client appreciates easy, useful, and personalized marketing experiences.


Anna MorrisonAnna Morrison

@TheNoBSSuppsCo

Anna is the co-founder and CEO of The No BS Supplements Company.

“Personalized customer segmented emails are extremely overlooked…”

When engaging with customers, I still believe the most important thing is to call that customer by name. People want to feel as if the connections they have with each other are real, and a connection with a brand or company should be no different. Personalizing these segmented emails allows my customers to see my brand through a human lens. I also believe that speaking to them in a very warm, casual, and friendly brand voice goes a long way to make marketing messages feel more intimate and personal.


Suraj KandukuriSuraj Kandukuri

@SaiSurajKan

Suraj Kandukuri has taken on analyst and marketing roles within hospital systems, healthcare startups, and an outpatient surgery center. By leveraging a passion for interacting with people and developed strengths in data analysis and communication, he aims to innovate and create within the healthcare industry.

“Personalized marketing usually brings to mind something like…”

Ads popping up based on past searches or YouTube ads based on viewing history. However, personalizing at the point of sale is often overlooked. One way we go about this is by using DKI or Dynamic Keyword Insertion on Google Adwords. Dynamic Keyword Insertion takes the exact search terms used in the search and places it in your title. In the case of an Ambulatory Surgery Center, I can set it up as {KeyWord: Surgery} Near Me so a patient that searches
for Knee Surgery sees Knee Surgery Near Me, a patient that searches for Shoulder Surgery sees Shoulder Surgery Near Me, and a patient that searches for Surgery sees Surgery Near Me.

In other words you are not just personalizing ads to the customer, but to the specific product that they are searching for. Techniques like DKI require a lot of refinement but allow for a lot of creativity, especially when your business offers multiple products or the same service across multiple niches, etc.


Tim JerniganTim Jernigan

@BadgerMaps

Tim Jernigan is the Head of Product Marketing at Badger Maps, the #1 route planner for field salespeople. He develops, implements, and executes customer-centric marketing strategy, including inbound and content marketing campaigns.

“Behavior is the most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing…”

Everyone personalizes by demographics, but personalizing by behavior is much more relevant. You can personalize by how they engage with a campaign, how they use your product, and even how they segment themselves. Personalization builds relationships and makes your product feel relevant. You’re also meeting your market where they are in their decision-making process.


Andrew MimaultAndrew Mimault

@AndrewMimault

Andrew Mimault is a Senior Digital Media Specialist at Chacka Marketing in Tampa Bay Florida, implementing strategies for premier digital accounts. He began his career at Chacka in 2015 & formerly worked on businesses in multiple verticals including fashion, healthcare, and e-commerce.

“As cliché as it may sound…”

The most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing is the person. The more data-driven we have become in the marketing industry, the more we tend to take the human aspect of marketing out of the equation.

Oftentimes, there is a growing disconnect between what the consumer sees and what is being provided because marketers are siphoning consumers into boxes for what they think they should buy/see rather than the actual need of the consumer. When personalized messaging is too broad (basic offers, generic terms, and poor audience targeting), the consumer becomes numb, deeming it “fake news,” for lack of a better term.

If we don’t address this growing disconnect and provide a better experience, it will devalue how important personalized marketing is in the long run. This change isn’t something that will occur over night; it may take years for the data, content, and creative to merge harmoniously for a more unified approach.


Shana HaynieShana Haynie

@ArtworksByShana

Shana Haynie is the Co-Founder, Creative Director, and COO of Vulpine Interactive.

“There’s no way to make someone feel less special than by sending them a blanket, unpersonalized sales email…” 

However, personalization in marketing isn’t just about using someone’s first name in that annoying sales email that they never wanted. «FirstName» is not personalization. What I’m alluding to is taking the time to find out what my real problems are and only reach out to offer me a solution if you know for a fact that you can help me and that I am in the right place in my business (or life) for your offering.

By personalizing your marketing, you are demonstrating that your company values the time of its customers, and everyone wants to feel like they are valued. You can change the way they see your company, and ultimately influence their decisions to do business with you.

You want my money? Don’t waste my time. My time is very valuable to me, and so is the time of your customers.

From how a customer hears about your brand, all the way down to the way that they interact with your products, their experience is everything.

Doing personalization the right way is a key element to creating a great customer experience. By personalizing your marketing, you are demonstrating that your company actually cares.


Dustin MontgomeryDustin Montgomery

@DustinMontSEO

Dustin Montgomery is the Digital Marketing Specialist at Shippers Supplies.

“The single most overlooked aspect of personalized marketing is…”

Lead time.

You can get everything else right, but if it is not the right time to see the message then it does not matter.