Boilerplate Personalization: Some Brands Are Lagging, Study Finds


Originally posted on January 19, 2018 on MediaPost

Email marketers are leaving money on the table. That is, they are depressing their own response rates by failing to use sophisticated personalization tactics, according to The Value of Personalization, a study released today by Liveclicker and the Relevancy Group,

For example, only 26% employ email click-through behavior when targeting, although behavioral targeting delivers an almost 8% increase in email revenue, according to The Relevancy Group.

And while many use first-name personalization, they are less likely to send email content driven by machine learning.

Still, they are trying. Nearly half of all companies are deploying personalization on their websites and in email marketing, display and social.

Overall, here’s what they are doing:

  • First-name personalization in email marketing — 78%
  • Personalized email content based on real-time data — 59%
  • Dynamic content in email marketing — 55%
  • Display retargeting of email responders/non-responders — 52%
  • Human curated product personalization on website — 51%
  • Social retargeting of email responders/non-responders — 51%
  • Website content based on software/machine learning — 51%
  • Human curated product personalization in email — 48%
  • Personalized email content-software/machine learning — 47%

Email is a popular channel. Of 301 marketers polled, 46% rate email as highly effective, compared with 28% who say the same about display advertising. Overall, 93% feel that email is at least somewhat effective.

Retailers are most likely to give a rave-up to email, with 75% doing so, followed by ecommerce firms, of which 60% say email is highly useful.

In addition, 57% of companies with annual revenue between $250 million and $1 billion say the same thing. And 56% of the more sophisticated players — those using adaptive content at the moment of open — agree.

Here are their chosen email personalization tactics. They are at least slightly different from the choices listed above.

  • Utilize dynamic content — 55%
  • Utilize first-name personalization — 52%
  • Target our customers utilizing life-stage marketing tactics — 49%
  • Utilize real-time data such as location or other event-based data — 46%
  • Utilize triggered, lifecycle marketing across multiple channels — 46%
  • Use video in email campaigns — 46%
  • Utilize subject-line personalization — 44%
  • Change content/offer at time of email open — 42%
  • Utilize predictive intelligence, recommendation engines — 42%

So what can you make of it?

“The findings in this report are proof that a one-size-fits-all approach to email doesn’t work,” states Justin Foster, co-founder and VP market development at Liveclicker.

He adds: “We’ve learned that targeting based on real-time contextual data delivers a huge revenue benefit, so marketers need to identify the data that will be actionable for their brand — and the technology that can leverage it — to improve personalization, the customer experience, and ultimately, results.”


Capture, Captivate, and Convert

Get a Demo