How to do personalised marketing successfully

  • Posted: 6th March 2017

Personalisation is one of the biggest trends to hit marketing over the last few years. Brands are increasingly competing to deliver on-message content to customers that is also relevant and bespoke. The thing is, while companies understand the importance of personalised marketing, they’re not always getting it right.

Technology has advanced the art of personalisation to such a degree that including a ‘first name’ field in emails is not enough to deliver a truly personalised experience. Best practice now involves the use of specific and relevant customer data points to build hyper-targeted, one-to-one customer interactions.

Companies need to aim for a balance of personal and professional – if you overdo the former, you could creep your customers out. Too aloof and you’ll alienate your audiences.

To protect people from invasive marketing, regulation such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to control how customer information can be bought, used and sold. The penalties for breaching these regulations can be severe – nor do you want to damage your brand’s reputation. Which is why, if you’re determined to succeed at personalisation, you need to take a more measured, outside-in approach to using data.

Here are the four most important aspects you need to focus on.

Your goal

It’s no good using personalised marketing just for the sake of it. You need to put your end-goal front and centre. This should drive your investment and answer the all-important question: why? Are you trying to entice existing customers to buy more? Perhaps you need to build better relationships with fresh prospects? Do you have an innovative campaign you need to test? Or special offers you want to take to a certain audience segment?

The right data

It’s easy to confuse quantity for quality but when it comes to data, less can actually be more. Out of date or irrelevant data can cost your business a significant amount of money in storage and compliance costs, and fail to deliver any return on that investment. Data such as social media sentiment has a short shelf life, and will be inevitably be completely redundant a few years down the line.

Give your database a regular health check and focus on using only data that has been freshly gathered or recently verified. Campaigns that rely on dodgy data will fail to make any personal connection with your target audience and ultimately waste time and money.


Part of personalised marketing is knowing where to find your customers. Make sure you track engagement and conversions across different channels and focus on those that perform best for your targeted audience segments.

If, for example, your customer never engages with direct mail, there’s no point sending them offers in the post. Similarly if they actually prefer to receive vouchers in the post and never check their email, don’t bother targeting them with an email campaign.


Most customers will use a number of channels, accessing different platforms at different times of the day.  Use your data to track and analyse your customers’ buying behaviour and time your marketing communications accordingly. This is doubly important if you have an international customer base spread across various time zones.

Technology is key to successful personalised marketing. Platforms such as Adobe Marketing Cloud or Salesforce Marketing Cloud (through the Salesforce Personalization Builder), offer powerful solutions for the delivery of personalised communications through the right channel, at the right time.

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