Personalized marketing: What it is, benefits & real-life examples

Katie Leask

Nov 8, 2023

Katie Leask

Nov 8, 2023

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:

  • What it is.
  • Its benefits and challenges.
  • How to implement marketing personalization (and excel at it).
  • Five real-life examples of marketing personalization and its impact on conversions, revenue, and other key metrics.

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.

Table of Contents
  1. What is personalized marketing?

  2. The benefits and challenges of personalized marketing

  3. How to implement personalized marketing (and excel at it)

  4. 5 examples of successful marketing personalization

  5. Personalize all touchpoints in your customers’ journeys with Insider

  6. Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about personalized marketing

What is 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.

The benefits and challenges of personalized marketing

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.

The benefits of successful marketing personalization

Based on our experience of helping 1200+ brands personalize their customers’ experience, we’ve seen a few essential benefits of personalized marketing:

  1. More consistent and relevant customer experiences. Personalizing customers’ experiences shows that you understand their preferences and interests. This makes them more likely to engage and stick with your brand, as they know you won’t distract them with irrelevant information.
  2. Higher customer loyalty, retention, and lifetime value (LTV). This is a direct consequence of the first benefit. Personalization lets you deliver relevant messaging, content, and product recommendations through the entire customer lifecycle, which is vital for retaining customers in the long term. For example, NA-KD managed to increase LTV by 25% by delivering personalized experiences across their website, mobile app, email, SMS, and push notifications.
  3. Increased conversion rates and average order value (AOV). The more relevant your offers, the more customers will take the action you’re prompting them to — whether that’s buying a product, signing up for a subscription, scheduling a consultation, and so on. Plus, personalization enables you to entice customers with offers based on their past purchases, interests, and real-time behaviors, which often leads to higher AOV.
  4. Maximized marketing efforts and budget. Personalization ensures you’re always targeting customers with highly relevant offers. This means you’re not wasting your (and your customers’) time and resources. Coupled with the increase in conversion rates and revenue, this makes personalization an incredibly powerful tool for maximizing marketing spend and return on investment (ROI). It can even apply to your broader branding efforts, such as choosing the best name for your YouTube channel in order to engage a specific niche audience and earn more returns from your multimedia content.

The challenges preventing brands from implementing personalization at scale

Despite the benefits, many marketing teams still struggle to implement personalization successfully. This is often due to three key roadblocks:

  1. Data silos. Personalization is possible only when you have reliable data about the entire customer journey. However, for many brands, that data is siloed off in various solutions, like customer relationship management systems (CRMs), email marketing platforms, analytics tools, customer service software, and so on.
  2. Limited marketing stacks. Many marketing solution providers are limited in terms of their channel support and personalization capabilities. This prevents brands from scaling their personalization efforts across all customer touchpoints, resulting in a disjointed and inconsistent experience for customers.
  3. Underestimating the potential of personalization. For many marketers, personalization is just about including a customer’s name in the subject line of an email campaign or showing their last-visited products in a push notification. While such tactics are useful, true personalization is about tailoring every step of the customer experience — including your website and mobile app — to external channels, like email, SMS, and WhatsApp

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.

How to implement personalized marketing (and excel at it)

In a nutshell, personalized marketing is about:

  • Gathering enough accurate data to understand your customers’ journeys.
  • Showing relevant content, messaging, and product recommendations to each individual customer.
  • Communicating with customers on their preferred channels and at their preferred times.

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.

#1 Data aggregation and unified customer profiles

In order to execute any personalized marketing strategy, you need to know:

  • Who your customers are.
  • Which products, services, categories, or attributes interest them.
  • How they interact with your brand, e.g., which channels they prefer and what times of the day or week they engage with your messages.

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:

  • Their names and contact information.
  • The channels they use to interact with your brand.
  • Their full browsing and purchase history with your brand, including their last browsed and abandoned products, their last purchased items, and the events they triggered on your site or app.
  • Survey answers, CRM IDs, and much more.
Insider unified customer profile

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.

#2 Smart segmentation

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:

  • Abandoned their carts.
  • Abandoned a product page.
  • Interacted with your brand on a specific channel.
  • And others shown below.
Predefined audiences of Insider

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:

  • Likelihood to purchase or churn.
  • Projected lifetime value.
  • Discount affinity.
  • Interest clusters.
  • And more.
Insider predictive audiences

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.

#3 Website and mobile app personalization

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:

  • Top sellers.
  • Frequently viewed together.
  • Frequently purchased together. 
  • And more.
Insider website personalization top picks

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.

Insider personalized products recommendation strategies

Besides product recommendations, Insider can personalize every other element on your site or app, including:

  • Banners.
  • Pop-ups.
  • Categories.
  • Site search results (via EUREKA).
  • And more.

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.

Dover Saddlery InStory engaging mobile stories for product discovery

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.

#4 Personalization across messaging channels

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:

  • Email and SMS. Insider makes it easy to build personalized emails and SMS messages. For example, you can include all sorts of personalized elements, like cart items, last purchased items, AI-powered product recommendations, and more. You can also easily include recipients’ names, birthdays, and other dynamic content in each message.
Insider email personalization product recommendations
  • Push notifications. Insider enables you to build different types of personalized web and mobile app push notifications. You can even send engaging push notifications to anonymous visitors with products based on the categories and attributes they’ve shown interest in. This is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to turn first-time visitors into paying customers.
Insider web push notification builder
  • WhatsApp messages. WhatsApp can be an incredibly versatile marketing channel for sending promo messages, price drop alerts, event reminders, and other personalized messages. With Insider, you can even take advantage of WhatsApp’s conversational commerce feature to design end-to-end buying experiences right inside the app.And if you want to send voice messages instead, you can use a tool like Lovo.ai to take advantage of AI voice generators. This way, you can send personalized messages without using your own voice.
Insider WhatsApp conversational commerce flow mens shoes
  • Online ads. As we mentioned earlier, Insider has versatile options for building audience segments. Once created, you can target these segments via personalized search and social media ads (e.g., on Google, Facebook, or TikTok). Pierre Cardin used this strategy to achieve a 67.96% reduction in cost per acquisition, a 164.86% improvement in return on ad spend, and a 445% uplift in conversion rate for their online ads.
Insider segmentation TikTok ads

#5 Customer journey orchestration

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).

Insider Architect journey builder onsite email SMS

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.

Insider Architect A/B test SMS vs email

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:

  • A/B Test Winner Auto-Selection. With this feature, you don’t need to worry about manually reviewing your A/B tests and changing journeys based on their results. You just need to set them up and select a winning metric, such as open rates, conversion rates, revenue, and so on. Insider will automatically optimize each journey and direct users to the winning path for you.
  • Send-Time Optimization (STO) and Next-Best Channel Predictions. These features analyze customers’ behavioral patterns to determine the best time and touchpoint to contact them on. This lets you automatically personalize two massively important parts of each customer journey.
Insider Architect next best channel predictions

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.

Insider's generative AI solution for custumer experience

For a deeper look at Architect’s capabilities, check out our guide on the top marketing automation platforms across different categories.

5 examples of successful marketing personalization 

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: Increasing conversions by 502%

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:

  • Identify the most common online transactions within this age group.
  • Create a simple, user-friendly homepage design personalized to this segment.

Our team suggested they try Insider’s built-in experimentation and personalization features to overcome the challenges they faced with this segment.

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.

Garanti BBVA used Insider’s personalization features

The impact of these efforts was massive:

  • Search bar usage increased by 52%.
  • Loan applications increased by 502%.
  • Credit card applications increased by 192%.

Adidas: Boosting AOV by 259% and mobile conversions by 50.3%

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:

  1. Highly-targeted coupon codes. Insider’s Web Suite enabled Adidas to build targeted segments of new and returning visitors. Then, their marketing team created side menu coupons offering a 10% discount with personalization variations for each segment. This resulted in a 259% increase in AOV and a 35.5% increase in conversion rates for returning users.
Insider's targeted coupon codes for Adidas

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.

Insider Adidas website category optimization

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.

Adidas homepage product recommendations Insider

Slazenger: Achieving a 49x ROI in just eight weeks

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:

  • Personalize customer experiences across channels by targeting the right segments of users with contextual, relevant brand messaging.
  • Improve key marketing metrics, including cart abandonment rates, email click-through rates (CTR), and conversion rates.
  • Boost the return on investment (ROI) from their digital marketing stack.

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:

  1. Cart abandonment reminders. Slazenger’s team was able to lean on the power of AI and customer data to deliver the right cart abandonments messages to the right customer segments at the right times across web push, email, and SMS. They launched several cart abandonment campaigns, one of which managed to recover 40% of lost revenue.
Insider Slazenger cart abandonment journey

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.

Insider Slazenger cart abandonment journey

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: Generating a 110% uplift in conversion rates and an 86% increase in AOV 

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:

  • Could enable them to personalize their website experience and improve conversion rates.
  • Could let them communicate with different customer segments in an engaging and effective way.
  • Had a simple implementation and short time-to-market process that would allow them to execute marketing campaigns faster.

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:

  1. Bundled product suggestion labels. ICI PARIS XL realized that promoting bundled product sets was an effective way to encourage more purchases. That’s why our team suggested using “Also available as a set” labels on specific product pages. After running label campaigns on specific pages, ICI PARIS XL observed a conversion rate uplift of 110% and an AOV increase of 26.64%.
  2. Exit-intent reminders. ICI PARIS XL wanted to decrease cart abandonment rates by reminding customers of the pending items in their cart and offering incentives to complete their purchases. With help from our team, they implemented personalized exit intent overlays on the site. These overlays offered certain discounts for checking out immediately, leading to a 25.5% uplift in AOV and a conversion rate boost of 2.62%.
  3. Countdown times. Another key goal was to create a sense of urgency and excitement for users. To do that, our team suggested implementing a countdown banner (one of Insider’s popular templates) on the homepage. This timer showed the remaining time for the July 8th shopping night and invited customers to make a purchase, resulting in an 86.49% uplift in AOV and a 20.36% conversion rate boost. 
  4. Website stories. ICI PARIS XL used InStory to add small, bite-sized stories to their site to optimize engagement and retain customers longer. After implementing these stories, their marketing team saw a 46% reduction in bounce rates. 
  5. Social proof. As most experienced eCommerce marketers know, social proof is crucial for improving consumer confidence and maximizing revenue. That’s why ICI PARIS XL used Insider’s Social Proof tool to add relevant 5-star reviews on their product pages. Their team observed a 9.98% uplift in conversion rate compared to the control group who were not shown social proof reviews.

Media Prima: Driving a 525% uplift in average session duration

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.

For example:

  • Media Prima’s team started sending automated browser push notifications to readers to notify them when their favorite author published a new article.
  • They personalized the site’s homepage content and developed targeted scenarios to encourage users to share content on social media and messaging apps.
  • They also used InStory to add engaging, bite-sized pieces of content on their site.

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.

Personalize all touchpoints in your customers’ journeys with Insider

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:

  • Aggregate your customer data — from CRMs, CMSs, analytics tools, or any other online or offline sources — into one place.
  • Track customers’ behaviors and uncover their interests and preferred touchpoints.
  • Use our AI-powered intent engine to predict future behaviors (e.g., churn or purchase likelihood).
  • Create individualized experiences across channels, like your website, mobile app, email, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and more.
  • Improve key metrics, like conversions, revenue, acquisition costs, AOV, LTV, and more.

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.

Click here to book a demo with our team and learn how Insider can help you reach your business goals

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about personalized marketing

What is the goal of personalized marketing?

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.

What is an example of a personalization strategy?

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.

How effective is personalized marketing?

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).