Personalization has been the high point of marketing this year. Every marketer, across different industries has been trying to leverage content marketing based on what their target market really wants. But the sad truth is, despite the amount of data available across the digital platforms, marketers aren’t able to personalize their customer experience effectively.

Here’s taking a deeper look into what personalization is, its importance and how you can get ready to leverage its power in 2017.

What is personalization?

Also known as one-to-one marketing, personalization is a marketing strategy wherein businesses leverage data analysis and the digital technology to deliver custom experiences to their target market – individualized messages and relevant product offering based on interests as well as previous purchases.

Personalized marketing is dependent on different technologies for data collection, classification, analysis, transfer and scalability. The technology helps marketers collect their target customer data points like gender, age group, location, income, interests and purchase triggers.

In simpler words, personalized marketing is creating a business promotion campaign ‘for the customer, with the customer data’.

four r's of personalization

Why do you need personalization?

Personalization went from being a digital buzzword to a tactic that is adopted far and wide by even the biggest of businesses in both B2B and B2C industries.

The reason being, with the rise of mobile technology, internet has become easily accessible. According to Internet Live Stats, there has been a drastic rise in the number of internet users since 1993.

internet users

The rise in internet gave way to people being able to access more information, leading to them making ‘research’ a part of their process before interacting with a brand. With taking an informed decision coming to the center stage, it is important to note that the consumer market has started to look for what adds value to them.

For that matter, 70% of consumers get frustrated when they are fed content that’s irrelevant to them. They want the businesses to understand them and their needs before reaching out to them in any way – be it via social media, blogs or even advertisements.

personalization importance

Some interesting facts about personalization

With the rise of relevance and the ‘customer first’ approach in marketing, here are a few interesting statistics about personalization that will reiterate its importance:

Personalization is the number one priority for marketers to promote their businesses effectively in the future.

Personalization dominates the email channel, but only 39% of retailers send personalized emails to their consumers like product recommendations.

Less than 10% marketers believe they are effective at personalization and one third report having no resources to support their personalization efforts.

More than 60% of online consumers want to know how websites personalize content for them. Control is critical to the typical consumer – 41% consumers ask for higher levels of control over the information they share and about 29% are willing to share some information.

58% consumers want personalization based on the information they proactively share; while 38% want to be able to specify their interests.

The biggest challenges with personalization is gaining the quick changing insights (40%), lack of relevant data (39%) and inaccurate data (38%) meddling with quality data.

Businesses need to take the single customer view in mind before being able to personalize the experience of existing and potential customers. Some of the challenges here include inability to link different technologies (40%), poor quality of data (34%) and lack of relevant technology altogether (32%).

85% brands agree that their personalization efforts are based on broad segmentation and simple clustering for individual channels.

94% marketers are focusing on building the following for higher levels of personalization: unified login, registration process to recognize customers, data and analytics to mine customer data, and customer profile management.

Emails that are personalized deliver six times higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them effectively.

66% of marketers continue to struggle in personalizing content in real time, but 77% of marketers believe real-time personalization is important.

74% of online consumers report being frustrated when exposed to content (offers, ads, etc) that has nothing to do with their interests.

Marketers who personalize web experiences are able to achieve 19% uplift in their business sales.

94% of customer insights and marketing professionals say personalization is extremely important to meet their marketing objectives.

66% of marketers consider securing internal resources to execute personalized marketing programs a big challenge.

Sources: CMO by Adobe

The current state of personalization

Although personalization is now a tactic that is widely accepted by marketers across different industries and domains, there are still many challenges that are yet to be conquered when it comes to quality customer data.

personalization challenges

At the 9th annual Loyalty Expo, Ernan Roman, the President of ERDM Corp called today’s personalization broken. Based on more than 15,000 hours of Voice of Customer interviews, here are a few things Roman said about personalization in marketing as of now:

  • “What we receive is not smart personalization. They aren’t personalizing the things that matter to me!”
  • “I want more than just buying history based emails. With today’s technology, I expect emails that reflect my interests and preferences.”

According to Roman, the customers of today are looking for personalization at 7 lifecycle points with the business:

  • Acquisition
  • Onboarding
  • Predictive modelling
  • Surprise and delight thank yous
  • Value added cross selling and upselling
  • Repeat sales
  • Renewal and activation

Despite increased privacy concerns of internet users (as mentioned in the above section), Roman also mentioned in his talk that most B2B and B2C customers are willing to exchange their personal information in lieu of personalized offers and communications.

Struggling with the changing consumer data and increasing digital channels, here are a few forms of personalization that we are experiencing today:

1. Website personalization

The most common form of personalization we have seen as marketers and experienced as consumers, is website personalization.

website personalization

Think of the time when you first visit an online store, browse through a few products and maybe purchase some. The next time you come to the same store, the homepage is tailored to show products that you recently browsed through or are more likely to purchase. One of the finest examples being, Amazon.

amazon on-site personalization

2. Purchase based personalization

Continuing on the point above, another type of personalization we see brands using is purchase based. Basically, they make use of the data that a consumer shares during his first conversion. Using this data, they create marketing campaigns that are aimed at upselling or cross selling similar products.

The idea behind this personalization is to draw his attention towards what else the website has to offer, that will add more value to his previously made purchase. Some of the channels used to execute this tactic are emails, social media and on-site recommendations.

Here’s an example of on-site personalization:

amazon recommendations

And here’s an example of email purchase based personalization:

email purchase based personalization

3. Retargeted advertising

With social media becoming an integral part of marketing strategies, it is evident that personalization can be seen in social advertisements.

Businesses are actively using their consumer browsing data to retarget them on social media via ads that are aimed to draw their attention back to them. For instance, when you visit an eCommerce website but come away without making a purchase, the product you last viewed ends up following you everywhere.

levis retargeting

Also read: 8 ways every marketer should leverage from retargeting

4. Personalized onboarding

Another type of personalization that we have been seen business with websites and applications use, is onboarding. They interact with their consumers right after their acquisition to gather data points that would further define their journey to conversion with their business.

For example, when you sign up on Spotify, they make sure they ask of your interests in music and genres you’re interested in. This helps them recommend artists on your dashboard once you log in to suit your preferences.

Spotify onboarding

Similarly, Beats has an onboarding process for its app users on the same lines to tailor their in-app experience:

beats music onboarding

The future of personalization

Personalization still has a long way to go. Marketers are still struggling with technology and the vast amounts of data that is available to them, is going unused. Not having the right resources or the knowledge to mine what is important to their business, is the biggest challenge they are facing in the digital landscape.

big data problem

But with personalization tips, tricks, tactics and more advanced technology coming into place, 2017 is set to see a rise in one-to-one consumer marketing.

Here’s taking a look at the trends that are already on the rise:

1. Interest based personalization

Although interest based personalization is being used by some businesses like Beats and Spotify (as mentioned above), there are still many that lack using this technique to better their customer’s experience.

For instance, websites that are content based are still not able to effectively segment their readers as per the articles or topics they have shown interest in. Take a look at the newsletters you have been getting so far and you’ll know how many times you have been given content that you previously haven’t shown interest in. Businesses will be seen optimizing their onboarding processes to get insightful data on their customers in 2017.

2. On-site retargeting

Continuing on the point above, interest based personalization will only become possible when businesses are able to ask their audience the right data, at the right time and while they’re still interested in interacting with them.

Personalized on-site retargeting campaigns using tools like Exit Bee will enhance the customer’s experience right from the point of conversion – micro or macro. For instance, those surfing ‘social media’ section of a content based website, will be asked to sign up only for those newsletters. The audience on other web pages could be targeted with different campaigns and messages as per context.

For instance, this campaign here encourages a person to sign up for a demo of the product because he showed interest in knowing more about the technology:

demo campaign

Convert your visitors into customers, before they leave your website! 

And this campaign here, on the same blog, retargets the leaving visitor only to make him subscribe to the weekly newsletters:

exit bee subscribe campaign

Businesses will be seen optimizing their engagement rates on websites with different personalization campaigns, before their visitor leaves their web pages.

Also read: The guide to effectively personalize exit intent popups

3. Dynamic content

The digital landscape is high on content marketing and the scenario is only going to improve here onwards. With businesses competing one another to grab the reader’s attention, marketers are finding new ways to look at creating contextual content in a way that is personalized to cater to their interests. The tactic is known as dynamic content.

dynamic content

Making use of dynamic content means changing the website copy, blog content, communication messages, etc frequently to engage the reader. These include using rich media like animations, videos or audios alongside the conventional content pieces. But the idea is to give the visitor a new and personalized experience every time he makes a visit.

4. Omni channel personalization

Businesses and brands alike are now required to be active on multiple digital channels as well as keep up their offline presence. Be it the various social media platforms, online forums and communities, emails, print media and others, their presence is what forms their rapport and helps them acquire more customers from their target market.

omni channel personalization

But juggling between the various channels has been a constant challenge for many marketers. Creating a consistent message across all these channels hasn’t really been their high point throughout this year – so far.

The new year will see a rise in the importance of omni channel personalization. Because if you want your target market to convert, you need to remain consistent and nurture them via the channels they are most active on – even if that means grabbing their attention with valuable content and information from different social media channels.

benefits of omni channel personalization

5. Location based personalization

Another type of personalization that we have noticed brands using and is set to grow bigger in the coming year, is tailoring customer experiences based on their location. The tactic will make use of customer’s location data to define his journey with the business, making him more likely to convert. Usually, a marketing tactic to acquire customers on-the-go.

localisation statistics


This tactic includes localisation in terms of language, offers a person can avail nearby, updates and upgrades available in his location, currency of the products shown and others.

For instance, this online store here asks the visitor to select his location. Then accordingly, they show the prices of their products in their local currency and the sales that are available to him.

localisation website

Personalize and retarget your website visitors to get more sales with Exit Bee. 

And here is an example of an app sending out a push notification that uses the user’s location to send him a custom offer.

location notification

6. Account based personalization

Since context has become everything in marketing, it is important to cater to the customer’s needs. Just like interests, we are going to see a rise in account based personalization – the tactic that will focus on revolving all marketing strategies around the need of the customers as stated by him or online data analysis.

account based marketing

While there are very few businesses executing a 1:1 personalization, there are definitely those using smart segmentation of their databases as per their target audience demographics and patterns.

For instance, Doggyloot segments the leads it generates as per the size of their pets. This helps them send targeted emails that are relevant to the prospective customer.

customer specific needs

The way forward..

Personalization is all set to rule the digital landscape along with content marketing in 2017. While we suggest not wasting time picking up on trends and getting started right away, it is important that you first spend some time reflecting on your business goals and who your target audience really is.

What’s your take on personalization for 2017?

Hold back your leaving visitors with personalized exit intent campaigns and never lose another customer.

CTA - The guide to eefectively personalize exit intent popups

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Vanhishikha Bhargava

Content Marketer at Exit Bee. Most of the times found trying to create compelling copies for blogs and digital campaigns, keeping a watch on what's happening on social media or ranting on Twitter. At all other times, not found.

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