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Thought Leadership & Enablement
January 5, 2024

Personalized Marketing 101: What It Is and How to Implement It

Put your customers first with personalized marketing. Learn how to increase engagement, save money, and create a bigger buyer impact with this guide.

Brittany Gulla
Director of Growth Marketing

Personalized marketing is a great way to create a fantastic user experience and build a wildly successful marketing campaign — and it’s something that can go wildly wrong, too. Think user-generated content fails or accidentally insensitive messages (remember in 2017 when Adidas sent out personalized emails that read, “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”? Yeah, that’s a great example of what not to do!).

But we’re not here to examine all the ways personalized marketing can go wrong. Instead, we’re going to show you how to do it right. Strap in, because we’re going to show you what personalized marketing means, and how you can implement successful personalized marketing efforts for your products.

What Do Marketers Mean by “Personalized Marketing?”

Personalized marketing: father and daughter using a laptop

Personalized marketing goes beyond inserting [CUSTOMER NAME] at the top of an email and calling it a day. Whether you're focusing on traditional marketing or digital marketing, a personalized marketing campaign is one that’s tailor made for a specific audience. But what exactly does that mean?

It all starts with data. To create a personalized marketing campaign that's data-driven, you need to collect a wealth of information about your target audience. This should include the basics, like demographic information for age, income, geographical location, occupation, and more — plus the personalities behind these statistics. Interests and hobbies, leisure activities, past purchases, value systems, and other details are also important pieces of the puzzle.

With this kind of real-time customer data, your marketing team can create buyer personas that represent an average buyer from each of your customer segments. From there, you can go on to create highly personalized marketing messages that make an impact among specific groups of people.

Why is Personalized Marketing Important?

Marketing newbies sometimes feel the best strategy is to cast as broad a net as possible. But with billions of other voices competing for consumers’ attention, this is a good way to get lost in the noise. Personalized marketing is all about being heard. 

Getting your message where it needs to be is the biggest benefit — but there are others, and those include:

  • Saving money: Personalized marketing reaches more people using fewer marketing dollars.
  • Increased engagement: Personalized marketing is made to resonate with its target audience.
  • Better customer experiences: In understanding the customer and personalizing the customer journey, you’re creating a smoother experience.
  • Increased loyalty: Personalization earns loyalty because it not only creates a better shopping experience but also shows customers that you care about their needs.

Create an Effective Personalized Marketing Message in 3 Steps

Let’s  look at some of the tactics you can use to create a personalized marketing strategy. Read below for the essentials to optimize your approach.

1. Gather Data on Your Customer Base

Personalized marketing: example of a marketing campaign

Every good marketing campaign starts with data. Start by gathering first-party data, which is the information that you collect from your customers, subscribers, social media followers, and site visitors. This kind of behavioral data can shed a lot of light on spending habits, favorite types of content, and more.

You’ll also need demographic information to help you zero in on age groups, geographical regions, and other important factors that can influence customer behavior. 

Lastly, don’t forget to survey your audience and get customer feedback. This is a key way to gather information about things like hobbies and interests, values, lifestyle preferences, specific pain points, and other details.

2. Segment Your Audience and Create Customer Personas

Personalized marketing: example of a customer's profile with and without personas

Got your user data? Great! Now it’s time to use that data to divide your current audience and potential customers into customer segments. To create segments, pour over the information, look for patterns, and then divide customers up into groups that share common characteristics. 

As you create customer segments, create customer personas to match each segment. This is a document that reflects all of the information you’ve collected about that segment, including demographics, interests, values, and more. Treat personas like a short biography for an average individual customer who represents a particular segment. From there, you can use each persona to create a personalized marketing strategy that speaks directly to that customer.

3. Strike the Right Tone

An example of an email communication from e.l.f. cosmetics

By this point, you’ve learned a lot about the customer segments that comprise your target audience. Now it’s time to put that knowledge to work creating advertisements, email marketing campaigns, web pages, social posts, and other marketing materials. You’ll need to strike the right tone across all of these materials.

Start by creating relevant content for each segment. Landing pages, advertisements, and other product pushes should all speak to something that matters to each segment — their values, how it eases a pain point, how it offers a great experience, or something else.

Remember that not all content has to push a product. You can build brand loyalty and customer engagement through content that is adjacent to your brand. For example, you could share memes or make funny posts using a style of humor that is popular among a particular segment. Or if you’re selling electronics to people who love owning the latest gadgets, you could share news they could be interested in, like current tech trends.

Even though you’ll be creating content tailored to a variety of segments, it’s crucial to keep your overall brand message consistent throughout. Few things make people more suspicious than mixed signals. You wouldn’t want to do something like market your product as an expensive luxury item to one segment, and a budget-friendly alternative to expensive products to a different segment.

What's an Example of a Personalization Strategy?

One of the best ways to learn is by example. Let’s examine some real-world personalization efforts in action.

1. Netflix

Grey's Anatomy in Netflix
Netflix creates a matching score based on personalized viewing information to recommend shows and movies a viewer may like

Netflix is a great example of personalized marketing because it uses several tactics to give viewers the shows they want, when they want them. First, Netflix analyzes user data, then uses that data to create personalized viewing recommendations that you’ll see each time you log in and browse for something to watch.

Netflix also uses algorithms to rank TV shows and movies against other media you’ve watched on the platform. This allows them to generate a match percentage — which you can see when you view the details for any show or movie. That match percentage is a measure of how much the programming matches other things you’ve watched and enjoyed. The closer it is to 100%, according to the algorithm, the more likely you are to enjoy it.

2. e.l.f.

Cosmetics from e.l.f.
Through a Jebbit quiz, e.l.f. is able to gain personalized information that leads to customized product recommendations.

The skincare industry is rife with pain points for various customer segments — not just particular skin concerns but also trouble finding the right shade or the skincare products to match unique needs. The market is also flooded with products that cost a fortune while offering minimal results.  A tiny $200 tub of moisturizer, anyone?

Skincare and cosmetic brand e.l.f. has leveraged Jebbit to create an ingenious personalized marketing strategy that addresses these pain points. 

With Jebbit, e.l.f. has developed personalized content and product recommendations to suit individual needs and preferences. These personalized experiences have allowed e.l.f. to collect additional user data — and that has given them the ability to further refine their personalized marketing strategy. 

The end result? Increasing numbers of potential customers plus opportunities to market toward diverse new audiences who are interested in high-quality, yet budget-friendly skincare and cosmetics.

3. Coca-Cola

3 Coca-Cola bottles
An example of Coke bottles that were available during the Share a Coke campaign via Wikimedia Commons

Remember “Share a Coke?” If not, here’s the backstory: It was an incredibly simple and successful personalized marketing strategy based around one simple phrase. One of the big reasons why this campaign worked is that it harkened to a value nearly everyone has in common: Sharing something enjoyable with a loved one. The emotional appeal alone was enough to drive up customer loyalty and engagement substantially.

And the personalized aspect? While this campaign was running, you could buy a Coke with a name on it — your name, which helped people take ownership and get a deeper sense of engagement with the brand, or the name of someone special who you could share a Coke with.

Jumpstart Your Personalization Efforts with Jebbit

Ready to create personalized marketing experiences? You’re going to need help with data collection — and Jebbit has your back. In fact, you can follow along with 4 On Ramps to get the data you need and create those “golden” customer personas that will help you zero in on what matters most to your customers.

Learn more about Jebbit’s On Ramps, and book a demo of the platform.

Brittany Gulla
Director of Growth Marketing

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