What is personalization?

January 17, 2018

A research by Autopilot concluded that 72% of the customers get frustrated when they receive generic content that does not match their interests or purchase behavior*. To solve this problem, marketers are under constant pressure to deliver personalized messages to their customers. But what is personalization?

Personalization is about reaching customers at the right moment with the right message. Based on their behavior and/or personal characteristics of a customer, the content and timing of a message is tailored to the needs of the customer. It’s a perfect tool for approaching the modern customer.

Personalization can be deployed on any online channel, it speaks to the customer and helps you win, serve, and maintain customers. So, personalization is not about adding a customer’s name to your subscribers email, but about personalizing your content across different channels. With this strategy, you use the customer’s profile, as well as contextual, historical, and behavioral customer data to serve experiences at the right time when the customer needs it. Digital marketers who use such a strategy witness an increase between 70% and 84% in the effectiveness of different key metrics.

Developing a successful personalization strategy

So, when you deploy a personalization strategy, the customer gets a unique, personal experience regardless of the customer’s place in the customer journey. This type of experience provides a differentiated, valuable customer experience. The following developments will help you to achieve this type of experience.

1. Create personas

Who are you trying to reach with your content? Precisely, the personas you focus on as a company. Compare those personas with data from your website, Google Trends, Keywords, Facebook, etc. Does this match? Then investigate where your personas are located online, what they find interesting, and what their challenges are. Repeat this question for your audience. Research reveals that over 60% of consumers want to share information and preferences online (Sitecore, 2016). But only if they get a better-personalized experience in return. In short, define your personas once more and link them with the corresponding information.

2. Define your customer journey

When you have charted everything, define the customer journey. Personalization is effective, but study how it fits into the bigger picture. In other words, at what moment do you add the personalization within your customer journey? Keep in mind that the personalization needs to help bring your customers to the next stage of the journey. Customers nowadays have high expectations, interaction and customer experience are key to success. Investigate these changed expectations and provide the customer with the right information at the right time. Therefore, you should map the different phases of the customer journey and analyze what customers need in those phases. Already have a pretty good idea what your customer journey looks like? Then take another critical look at the journey, and sharpen and optimize it.

3. Manage and use customer data

Now the customer’s journey, personas, and interests are clear, make sure that you integrate this data and content into your platforms. This allows you to enable personalization on different channels. Examples of tools include marketing automation (automated offering of personalized, but especially relevant content), CRM, CMS and other marketing systems.

4. Obtain quick wins

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”. This also applies to a successful personalization strategy. Inform the organization about your plans and let them get acquainted with the applications. There is not one single solution, but a strategy that requires a variety of tools. Start building, customize and learn. Begin with the quick wins; such as improving ROI and customer values.

5. Leverage partnerships

Make sure you work together with partners, who can help you with data, digital marketing strategy, processes, and technology. Research from Forrester (2015) has shown that partners played an important role in creating and implementing personalization strategies. A partner cannot only help with strategy and design, but also by breaking traditional patterns, proving ROI and achieving organizational consensus.

Featured tool: Personalized Video

Personalized video should definitely be part of a successful personalization strategy. In order to create a uniform personal experience, you have to speak the same language as the customer. Video is becoming the most widely used online language. Do you already use video? Why send one video to many, if you can send each individual a personalized video based on interests and needs? Research has shown that 64% of customers who watch a personalized video are more willing to buy something (Forrester, 2015).

Again, also in video, personalization goes beyond showing a person’s first name. Based on three examples, we show you how to create a customized message with video.


    • Adapting (existing) video (ads) through dynamic, intro, outro and overlays. Do you already have video content, and are you not about to change this content? By adding a simple intro or outro, you can still approach the customer personally. See the example of Age UK (CTO: +180%):



    • Develop hyper-segmented video (ads) by changing scenes and placing data in the video. Imagine you have a video, this video consists of different scenes. By creating an x ​​number of variants of each scene, you can create the correct scenarios that match the customer’s needs and interests. See the Samsung campaign with which we realized 98 million views:



    • Use personal data to create a unique, 1-to-1 video. Hyper segmentation allows the video to show content that matches the customer’s needs and interests. Do you want to go one step further? Then you can process data from the user in the video. Think of photos, NAV data, videos etc. See Mysteryland’s example:





  • Autopilot Survey 2015

In conclusion

How far are you with your personalization strategy? Let us know! Contact us, we can’t wait to help you out!

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