Personalization Strategies


How are marketers optimizing their personalization strategies, and how do consumers feel about them?

Successfully targeting consumers with personalized messaging that they enjoy and find invaluable, whether it provides them with information they need or the right entertainment at just the right moment, is an art.

Building a cadence of trust with a consumer is important to striking the right balance within the consumer journey and creative communications.

However, in a time where trends, privacy regulations, and media are quickly evolving, providing emotionally resonant communication with consumers is a challenge. And most consumers do want personalized communication — according to Scorpion research, 70 percent of U.S. adult consumers want personalized ads.

Now that data collection is changing, how to personalize is on every marketer's mind. Ori Bauer, CEO of Dynamic Yield, wrote recently in an ANA article

"Recent McKinsey study found that the fastest-growing companies drive 40 percent more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts. The companies that invest significant resources into personalization see strengthened relationships and lifetime value leading to better revenue per customer, retention, and loyalty. The McKinsey research also shows that those companies see faster revenue growth, and that those benefits grow with time and sophistication."

Bauer also noted, "Retailers need to show customers meaningful alternatives when their first choice isn't available. It doesn't take much for a bad experience with out-of-stock items and irrelevant product placement to send a customer elsewhere for good. Thoughtful personalization and dynamic customer experiences can prevent customer churn and are essential mitigation factors for these risks. Shoppers respond better to thoughtful substitutions than they do to 'out of stock' notifications."

Focusing on creating an emotional connection and using that connection to create solutions to needs is a major strategy. Jeannette Kocsis, executive strategy director at Accenture Interactive, echoed this and stated at a 2022 ANA conference:

"Every brand has times in a consumer's life cycle where you can find out something about them that can help you connect with them in a meaningful way. That's one thing that we have done is really thought through all of those steps in that process and then think about those data points before we started building out emails."

The most important lesson for any marketer to learn right now is adaptation. Meeting consumers where they are is a pivotal key to success. Fostering the right balance between being visible and supportive, instead of overwhelming consumers with a barrage of irrelevant content, is the line all brands need to walk, now and for the future.

The following resources provide insight on how marketers can better personalize their ads.

Trends and Best Practices

  • Consumer Marketing + Media Report 2022. Scorpion, June 2022.
    To find out which traditional and digital media channels consumers prefer when researching and purchasing new products or services, as well as their data privacy/online personalization preferences, Scorpion conducted a research study with 1,000 American consumers aged 18 to 65 in Q2 of 2022. Some findings:
    • 70 percent of respondents said they would like advertising to be personalized based on browsing history, interests and hobbies, purchase history, or places visited, but 31 percent of those who favored personalization said that digital ads seem to know too many personal details. This is nearly three times higher than those who said ads were not personalized enough.
    • Younger consumers seem to accept that personalized ads are an extension of their digital experiences. Moreover, 91 percent of gen Z and 81 percent of millennials said they wanted personalized ads, while only 53 percent of baby boomers said the same.
    • Higher-income earners were also more likely to prefer ad personalization. For instance, 79 percent of households with $150,000 or more in annual income said they wanted personalized ads compared to 68 percent of households who earned less than $100,000. Higher earners may equate time with money and perceive that digital ad personalization helps save both when they're shopping.
    • 89 percent of smart device shoppers preferred personalized ads compared to 64 percent of respondents who don't use smart devices to shop. More tech-savvy smart device users may see the benefit of personalization in their technologically integrated everyday lives and, like younger consumers, also see personalized ads as a natural part of their digital world.
    • 28 percent of respondents who want personalized ads strongly agree that a company's website is often indicative of their broader customer experience, while just 16 percent who did NOT want personalized ads said the same.
    • Similarly, 25 percent of respondents who want personalized ads strongly agree that an organization's social media feed is as important as its website, while just 8 percent who did NOT want personalized ads said the same.
  • The State of Personalization. Twilio, June 2022.
    From gamified rewards programs to product recommendations to user-generated content, good personalization has the power to build customer loyalty and drive bottom-line growth. It's quickly become the cornerstone of great digital customer engagement. Twilio surveyed thousands of businesses and consumers globally to bring you key trends within personalization, first-party data, privacy, and consumer loyalty. Some key findings:

  • The Secret Benefit to Personalization. ANA, July 2022.
    Each interaction a business has with its customers must feel tailored specifically to that customer — and that moment in time. Moreover, this personalization should reflect previous purchases, browsing history, affinity, and location. But there's another reason personalization matters: Insulating your business from the negative effects of modern supply chain challenges.

    It doesn't take much for a bad experience with out-of-stock items and irrelevant product placement to send a customer elsewhere for good. Thoughtful personalization and dynamic customer experiences can prevent customer churn and are essential mitigation factors for these risks. Shoppers respond better to thoughtful substitutions than they do to "out of stock" notifications.

  • Personalization Done Right. ANA/Infosys, October 2021.
    Through personalization, brands try to ingratiate themselves with customers and influence their behavior. This has become a critical part of marketing but, at the same time, is arguably the most misguided pillar of the brand experience. Personalization is delivered through marketing technology, and what MarTech does best is read the tea leaves of a partial data profile.

    There are many great brands who apply data-driven personalization to deliver exceptionally sticky experiences. Peloton, Spotify, and Netflix, to name three, all showcase the optimal balance between art and data science, but they are especially effective because they have also found ways to put the customer's data at the heart of the product. Through that, they have closed the gap between the insight and experience.

  • How Marketers Sharpen Their Personalization Playbook. ANA/Adobe, July 2021.
    To become a center of excellence (COE) for personalization, marketers need to establish a framework that empowers teams across the enterprise to create personalization programs, while maintaining governance over processes and the company's technology foundation. See Adobe's 30-page playbook by clicking here.

  • How Insights Drive Customer Experience and Personalization. ANA/Theorem, June 2021.
    In this article from Theorem, read how today's customers want a personalized experience. The only way to achieve this with any real efficiency is to let data-driven approaches lead the way.



  • Road to Holistic Personalization: Customer-Centric Approach and Personas. ANA, January 2022.
    When done right, personalization is about treating each customer differently by gently suggesting suitable products and offers based on collected data. But if you overdo it, or solely rely on it for personalization efforts, it quickly becomes "personally annoying" to customers.

    At worst, its poor execution, can lead to a "creepy" customer inaction that will have long-term consequences. Many think that these pitfalls mean the eventual end of "personalization." This need not be with the proper customer-centric strategy, robust CDP technology, and holistic approach. React to your customers' needs immediately and expeditiously but go further to achieve holistic personalization on a truly personal level by getting to understand their needs, not just their last purchase or click.

  • Creative Personalization in the New TV and Video Landscape. ANA, September 2021.
    The role of video advertising is expanding rapidly with the digitalization of TV and video. Brand marketers no longer view video as an upper-funnel tactic and are increasingly leveraging these formats in lower-funnel tactics as well. The key to enabling this transformation is personalized messaging and content in video; however, brand marketers face a myriad of challenges to overcome across the various video channels.

    In this webinar, Flashtalking discussed how to overcome these challenges and execute personalized cross-channel video, even when faced with walled gardens and CTV-specific issues. Brightline President Rob Aksman also provided insights on how to address the challenges specific to advanced video advertising across premium CTV publishers.


  • A Personalized Future, with Mike Barclay of MoEngage. ANA, September 2021.
    Personalization in marketing is nothing new; since the dawn of the internet, brands have been able to customize messaging to specific groups or even individuals. However, we haven't always used this engagement superpower for good. Many brands have been guilty of getting a little too personal and creeping out their customers in the process. But today's guest says there's a bright future for personalization as a cornerstone to modern marketing. Mike Barclay of MoEngage joined the pod to discuss the highs and lows of personalization, and what brands born before the dawn of the internet can do to get in on the personalization game.

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"Personalization Strategies." ANA, 2022.