Personalizing Email Experiences for Data-Wary Consumers


Consumers are becoming more wary about sharing their personal data, even as marketers are finding out just how valuable advanced personalization can be for their bottom lines.

That doesn’t mean personalization is doomed. But marketers do need to be smart about how they gather data, and how they personalize experiences.

Many of these tactics are detailed in Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization. Below, we’ll show you how consumers are shifting their attitudes on data-sharing and why advanced personalization using real-time data doesn’t rely on consumer-provided data to create email messages that are unique to each subscriber.

Consumers are Conflicted about Sharing Personal Data

Data security is on consumers’ minds, whether it comes from the 1.4 million fraud reports to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the estimated $14.8 billion lost to cybercrime or the growing number of laws regulating data collection and privacy, such as GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act.

These three recent studies underscore shifting consumer attitudes about personalization and data-sharing:

  • Personalization not always a motivating factor: 54% of consumers in an Advertising Research Foundation survey said they would be willing to share their email addresses on a brand’s website, but that willingness fell to 51% when told the brand would use it for personalization.
  • Retail customers don’t feel in control: 47% of consumers don’t feel as they can control their data, Deloitte’s 2019 Consumer Privacy in Retail Study reports.
  • Millennials aren’t as data-carefree as you might think: Only 14% strongly agree in Deloitte’s 2019 Global Millennial Study that technology benefits outweigh the risks from sharing personal data. Almost 8 in 10 are concerned they’ll be victims of online fraud, and 31% say they have broken off relationships with companies that ask for too much personal data.

Maybe not the best news if you’re gathering consumer data for personalization efforts. But consider that consumers are still willing to trade data for perks like better prices, discounts and exclusive offers (71%), especially if they trust the retail brand and its privacy policy (73%). 

That means marketers have to work harder to show the value of sharing data and to build trust with their customers – like writing a clear privacy policy in plain language, making it easy to find and sticking to it. 

Advantages of Using Real-Time Data

The Relevancy Group’s blockbuster 2019 report, The Value of Personalization Optimization for Retailers, found personalization using real-time data generated upwards of $20 in additional for every $1 spent on it; considerably more than adding the customer’s first name to the subject or message content or using behavior like web visits and purchases.

The beauty of this real-time data is that you can use it to automatically add or change content based on users’ email activities. You can personalize the content based on your subscriber’s open time, location or other environmental factors.

Here’s one example: At 9 a.m., you send an email promoting a hot new product to your entire subscriber base. It sells out by noon. What about the people who open your email at 1 p.m.? 

“You snooze, you lose” is not good marketing philosophy! 

Instead, combine open time with real-time inventory data to automatically update your 9 a.m. email. Instead of seeing the original product image and copy, your latecomers would see a note that the product had sold out, but they could ask to be notified when it’s back in stock. Or, you could swap in a related in-stock product, again based on live inventory data. 

New Report Details Real Results

Personalization based on real-time data helps you deliver better customer experiences every time. Preference and other customer-supplied data will always be important to your email program. But you can still create unique messages for your customers using real-time data you collect from the email environment. 

Find out how in this new Liveclicker report, Tactics Matter: Real Results from Advanced Personalization. It details the personalization tactics that deliver the best results and shares stories of two big-name brands that used real-time data to hit their goals.


Liveclicker enables personalization at the moment of open. Our platform helps marketers adjust emails at any time—even after they reach the inbox—so your message is always relevant and impactful.


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