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The Basics of Navigating the Era of Personalization

Let’s face it; we live in a world where the Internet knows more about us than our own neighbors do. And what’s more? We like it. People want to feel understood, they crave individual experiences, and they almost always want things done their way. Companies like Spotify, Warby Parker, and Stitch Fix all became successful after capitalizing on marketing personalized products or experiences.

The concept of personalization isn’t new, but it is a tactic that’s often avoided because personalizing marketing strategies can be perplexing and perilous. Gone are the days when inserting a customer’s name at the top of a mass email was considered adequate personalization. Marketers need to come up with innovative solutions that take personalization to a whole new level.

Get to Know Your Customer

Marketing is no longer a one-size-fits-all strategy. Personalizing campaigns for smaller subsets has proven to be more rewarding. But before you can reach them, you must first understand them.

A vast majority of companies have invested heavily into analytics in an effort to prioritize and align marketing efforts. But this alone is no longer sufficient. The data needs to help us understand the individuals behind the numbers. Knowing how customers behave along the buyer journey is vital to success, because it allows us to craft messaging based on personal preferences.

Consider Opportunities in the Face-To-Face

The expectation of personalization has become ubiquitous. Most companies have adapted their mobile or online experiences to offer some degree of personalization. Intuit QuickBase serves up premium content offers based on where users are in the sales cycle. Brainshark managed to increase their sales pipeline by $1 million through a series of personalized emails, tailored, in-product messaging, and site ads. Though personalizing content through digital channels has been incredibly effective, marketing personalization is not, and should not, be done solely online. Or even stop at print for that matter. Finding ways to incorporate personalization with face-to-face interaction can do a great deal to strengthen loyalty.

Brooks Running Company accomplishes both online and in-person personalization seamlessly. Their website invites users to complete a 10-question quiz to help identify the proper running shoes for their specific needs. Additionally, offline, they launched a campaign focused on stores that are licensed Brooks shoe sellers. These stores have a certified expert on staff dedicated to helping customers select exactly the right shoe, effectively bringing personalization into the stores themselves.

Personalize the Product

In the summer of 2014, Coke found a way to take personalization all the way through to the product itself with the Share a Coke marketing campaign. The seemingly simple idea of placing names on Coke bottles made a common product feel personalized and created a lot of buzz in the process.

Not only did it temporarily boost sales, but, within 12 days, there were more than 125,000 social media posts about the campaign. This strategy pushed the envelope, customizing an experience with a seemingly un-customizable product. The idea was simple, yet incredibly impactful.

Lay’s was also willing to push the envelope with the Create a Chip campaign. Millions of ideas for new chip flavors were submitted by consumers excited by the opportunity to personalize their very own chip flavor. The result? A pop culture phenomenon that brought so much attention to Lay’s, they decided to run the campaign a second time.

People want to feel heard and they want a personalized experience to show they’re understood by the brands they love. It’s a trend that’s not only here to stay, but one that will become even more expected as the technology allows us to drive personalization even further.

Picture of Taylor Bacon
Taylor Bacon
Marketing SpecialistWith a laser-focus on B2B marketing, Taylor has a passion for discovering creative ways to solve common problems for brands striving to reach customers in this ever-changing world of constant connection. She thoroughly enjoys analyzing emerging tactics and works to help companies understand and leverage these trends in their own marketing.