Personalization is an umbrella term that comprises many techniques aimed at making each customer’s brand experience as relevant, unique, and engaging as possible.
Marketing teams can use these techniques to deliver individualized content, messaging, and product recommendations to customers across different channels (e.g., email, SMS, or on-site) and stages of their journeys (e.g., brand awareness, consideration, or post-purchase).
By implementing marketing personalization, organizations can deliver consistent customer experiences, improve their conversion rates, and encourage long-term brand loyalty.
However, that’s easier said than done, as some common challenges — like data silos and limited technology stacks — prevent many marketing teams from tapping into the true potential of personalization.
In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about personalized marketing, including:
Through the guide, we’ll use Insider — our cross-channel personalization platform — to show how you put different marketing personalization tactics into practice. You’ll also see personalization examples from our customers across industries, like fintech, eCommerce, and media.
Insider can help you build high-converting, personalized journeys across all touchpoints customers have with your brand—from your website and mobile app to channels like email, push notifications, SMS, and WhatsApp. Visit our website or schedule a demo with our team to learn more.
What is personalized marketing?
The benefits and challenges of personalized marketing
How to implement personalized marketing (and excel at it)
5 examples of successful marketing personalization
Personalize all touchpoints in your customers’ journeys with Insider
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about personalized marketing
Personalized marketing (sometimes called one-to-one marketing or individual marketing) is a strategy designed to tailor the entire brand experience of visitors and customers to their needs, interests, and preferences.
The strategy can comprise various techniques and channels, like website content personalization, email personalization, sent time optimization, and many more. It also relies on accurate customer data to understand customers’ interactions and preferences and even to predict their future behaviors.
Personalized marketing has been around for a long time, and recent advancements in marketing technology and artificial intelligence (AI) have massively expanded its potential. However, its benefits and the challenges brands face when implementing it have remained relatively constant.
Based on our experience of helping 1200+ brands personalize their customers’ experience, we’ve seen a few essential benefits of personalized marketing:
Despite the benefits, many marketing teams still struggle to implement personalization successfully. This is often due to three key roadblocks:
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome all these challenges. For example, data silos can be fixed with a customer data platform (CDP) — a type of software specifically built to aggregate customer data into a single place. A limited and disconnected marketing stack can be replaced by a modern cross-channel marketing platform like Insider that’s built for the personalization era.
In a nutshell, personalized marketing is about:
While simple on paper, the process of building a personalized customer experience can be very difficult due to the challenges we explored earlier.
Below, you’ll find five key steps to successful marketing personalization. We’ll use Insider as a real-life example of how one platform can help you implement personalization at scale across all five steps.
In order to execute any personalized marketing strategy, you need to know:
As we said, this data is often siloed off in disconnected systems, preventing brands from getting an accurate view of their customers’ journeys. One way to overcome this problem is to aggregate your data with a CDP.
For example, Insider’s Actionable CDP can unify data from any online or offline source, including CRMs, CMSs, APIs, analytics tools, customer service platforms, channel-specific marketing software, and more.
Once your data is unified, Insider also builds 360-degree profiles of all your customers that contain invaluable information like:
This unified data is the foundation for successful personalized marketing campaigns, as it ensures you’re not missing valuable information. Plus, our platform automates the entire data collection process, so these profiles get continuously updated as customers interact with your brand on various channels and platforms.
For more details on CDPs and their importance, check out our guide on how CDPs help marketing teams drive growth and efficiency.
Market segmentation is the process of grouping customers together based on shared characteristics and behaviors. Segmentation is essential for the success of pretty much any marketing activity, including personalization.
That’s why all marketing tools and personalization solutions offer at least some segmentation capabilities. For example, Insider speeds up the segmentation process by automatically creating audiences of users who:
You can take any of these pre-made target audiences and narrow them down with over 120+ attributes, including locations, devices, behaviors, demographics, CRM attributes, and many more.
Lastly, our AI-powered algorithms can enable you to make your segments even more precise. Specifically, our AI intent engine lets you target users based on their:
With these versatile segmentation options, you can be sure that your personalization efforts are always targeted toward the right people. For example, FOX used Insider’s segmentation and personalization capabilities to triple their traffic from web push notifications in just six months.
Once your data is unified and your segments are ready, you can move on to implementing various personalization tactics. Your website and mobile app (if you have one) are great places to start.
You’re likely spending a lot of time and resources on bringing potential customers to your site. Personalizing their experience will help you boost conversion rates and revenue, as well as maximize your marketing efforts and budget.
For example, Insider can show personalized product recommendations to every user on your site or app. You can choose from a variety of recommendation strategies, including:
You can even put personalization and product discovery on autopilot with a user-based recommendation strategy. With this option, our AI algorithms automatically match every product recommendation to each individual user.
Besides product recommendations, Insider can personalize every other element on your site or app, including:
Insider also offers a distinct tool for driving customer engagement and product discovery: InStory.
InStory enables you to add Instagram-like stories to your site or mobile app. These stories can contain content and product suggestions that are personalized for each customer who opens them.
For example, below you can see an example of InStory on Dover Saddlery’s mobile website. When users click on the small icons on the main screen, they get an expanded view with a carousel of products they’ve shown interest in.
Click here to learn how Dover Saddlery used Insider to generate $1.7 million in incremental revenue via InStory and over $2 million of revenue via personalization.
After personalizing on-site and mobile app experiences, the next step is to scale our personalization efforts across all other channels. This is especially important today as customers use a plethora of channels to communicate with brands.
That’s why Insider brings 12+ channels under one platform. This enables brands to use one solution to personalize all touchpoints (beyond just their websites and mobile apps), including:
The final step of a successful personalization strategy is tying each individual touchpoint into a cohesive experience. This dynamic process is often called customer journey orchestration.
Insider has a cross-channel customer journey builder and automation solution called Architect built specifically for this purpose. Architect lets you build, automate, personalize, and analyze customer journeys across 12+ channels using a simple drag-and-drop editor.
For example, the screenshot below shows a simple journey that starts with a successful purchase, moves on to an email message, and finishes with an SMS (with a “Wait” element in between).
Journeys can get a lot more complex than this. They can split off into different flows based on customers’ real-time behaviors and changes in their preferences. You can even A/B test journey flows against each other to determine which is the better option.
With so many possibilities, journey orchestration can quickly get overwhelming. This is where the power of AI can make a massive difference.
Insider offers AI-powered capabilities that can save you tons of time and effort while ensuring your journeys produce the desired results:
Our suite of generative AI features (included in our Sirius AI toolkit) can also help you speed up campaign creation and work more efficiently by generating copy, building segments, creating high-converting journeys, and much more, just by using simple text prompts.
For a deeper look at Architect’s capabilities, check out our guide on the top marketing automation platforms across different categories.
There are plenty of widely-known personalized marketing examples — like Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign in Australia, Amazon’s extremely relevant product recommendations, and Spotify’s famous “Discover Weekly” playlists.
While interesting, the results of these efforts usually aren’t privy to the public, making it difficult to understand the true impact of personalization.
That’s why, in this section, we’ll take a different approach and look at five personalized marketing examples from our own clients. The first example is from the fintech industry, the next three are from the eCommerce world, while the last one is from a media company.
Most importantly, each section also includes the impact of different personalization tactics on metrics like conversions, cart abandonment rates, bounce rates, average session duration, AOV, and more.
Garanti BBVA is a leading financial services group with over 18.5 million customers. Their marketing team wanted to increase engagement by introducing customers to new channels, improving segmentation, and delivering relevant, timely messages that resonated with different audiences.
One of their key target segments were customers aged 55 and over. This audience faced unique challenges when interacting with their website, so Garanti BBVA’s team decided the best approach would be to:
Thanks to our platform, Garanti’s team was able to collect detailed behavioral data on how customers 55 and over interacted with their new landing pages. They also used Insider’s advanced personalization features to deliver tailored experiences, optimize their digital offerings, and improve engagement.
The impact of these efforts was massive:
Adidas designs and manufactures shoes, clothing, and sporting accessories for men and women worldwide. They’re Europe’s largest sportswear manufacturer and the second-largest in the world.
They partnered with Insider during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns as their website traffic was skyrocketing, but they weren’t equipped to engage and retain many visitors. That’s why they need to implement personalization at scale to boost engagement and conversions.
Insider helped Adidas’ marketing team quickly implement three key use cases:
2. Category optimization. Site navigation on smaller mobile screens was a problem that prevented Adidas from maximizing their mobile conversion rates. Insider helped them fix the issue with Category Optimizer — a tool that personalizes the mobile menu for each customer based on their browsing history. This resulted in a 50.3% increase in mobile conversion rates.
3. Homepage product recommendations. Lastly, Adidas wanted to harness the power of AI and machine learning to make product discovery easier. To do that, they used Insider’s Smart Recommender — an AI-powered tool that shows highly personalized products across channels. After just one month of using this product, Adidas’ team saw a 13% increase in conversion rates on their homepage and a 7% increase in conversion rates on product pages.
Slazenger is one of the world’s most established sports brands, well-known for its stylish sportswear covering cricket, tennis, swimming, hockey, golf, and many other sports.
Their marketing team was looking for a cross-channel solution that could help them:
Insider’s advanced personalization platform was ideal for achieving these goals. Thanks to Architect, Slazenger’s team was able to engage shoppers with personalized messaging about products they’d shown interest in. They also sent contextual:
2. Price drop alerts. Slazenger knew that many customers were browsing their products online without buying them. They also knew discounts significantly impacted buyer behavior, so they used Insider’s email and web push notification capabilities to inform users whenever the price of a product they’d viewed, added to a wishlist, or abandoned in-cart dropped by 10% or more. This resulted in a 12% increase in CTR.
After deploying Insider, Slazenger experienced a 700% increase in customer acquisition and a 49x ROI in just eight weeks. They continue to work on their goal of delivering 1:1 customer experiences across every channel by experimenting with new price drop notifications and back-in-stock campaigns.
ICI PARIS XL is a perfume shop chain founded in the late 1960s in Belgium with a vision of making French beauty products accessible to everyone.
They wanted an enterprise marketing platform that:
ICI PARIS XL’s team was impressed with Insider’s fast implementation and powerful personalization tools for improving key metrics, like conversion rate and AOV. Our platform also gave their marketing team an easy way to track their campaign results.
After the setup, our growth consultants and ICI PARIS XL’s team got to work on implementing the following tactics:
Media Prima is Malaysia’s leading fully integrated media house, with a repertoire of media-related businesses in television, print, radio, out-of-home advertising, content creation, and digital media.
Back in 2017, they were looking for a platform that could help them improve their user experience by delivering personalized content to each visitor. Insider’s personalization capabilities were an ideal fit for this goal, as they allowed Media Prima to tailor content based on a visitor’s behavior and preferences.
These strategies delivered massive user engagement improvements across Media Prima’s brands.
By showing a “Read Next Article” button, their team saw a 90% uplift in pages per session and over 300% uplift in average session duration. Their homepage personalization tactics produced a 60% uplift in pages per session and a 75% uplift in average session duration. Lastly, the use of InStory led to a massive 525.71% increase in average session duration.
Overall, Insider enabled Media Prima to improve their key performance indicators (KPIs) for pageviews per session, session times, and ad viewability to the point where they exceeded the company’s initial goals.
Insider is an ideal platform for mid-sized and enterprise companies looking to scale personalization across the entire customer journey.
Our personalization engine can digest customer data from any relevant data source and enable you to automatically deliver relevant content, messaging, and product recommendations across all touchpoints.
Overall, our platform can help you:
Finally, our versatile setup options, experienced support team, and massive template library will let you get started and see a meaningful return on your investment as quickly as possible.
The goal of personalized marketing is to provide customers with tailored content, messaging, and product recommendations across every step of their journeys. This leads to higher engagement, better conversion rates, and ultimately — more revenue.
A personalization strategy can be showing different products on your website’s homepage based on each user’s purchase history, preferences, and interactions on channels like email or SMS.
Personalized marketing can be very effective for driving engagement, conversions, revenue, and customer retention. We’ve seen clients increase conversion rates and AOV by over 50%, and even 100%, just by implementing a few personalization tactics.
Katie is an award-winning content marketer with over seven years of experience in content strategy, development, and copywriting. As Global Content Director at Insider, she currently oversees content strategy across 26 regions. Fun fact: Katie read 64 books last year (for which she owes a long commute and two week-long holidays where she spent approximately six hours a day with her nose in a book).