What is Personalized Marketing? - Definition & Examples

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Want to get inside your customers' heads? Personalized marketing is where it's at. In this lesson, we'll look at the concept of personalized marketing and highlight a few examples to generate great results.

Recommended Based On Your Recent Purchase

If you want a primo example of a company that really gets personalized marketing, look no further than Amazon. They've been at it for a while, and they have it fine-tuned.

Here's the scenario: You visit their website and purchase an airline-approved pet carrier for your pup, Spot. You place your order, the item arrives within two days of your visit to the website, and you're a happy consumer. The next day, you log into Amazon and see a few new interesting things on your homepage:

  • Products inspired by your shopping trends, including new pet collars and leashes
  • Top picks for you, featuring different pet treats and dog food
  • Products recommended for you in pet supplies

So, is Amazon secretly stalking you? Reading your mind? None of the above, actually. What they've built is a way to appeal to each individual customer and encourage them to make additional purchases that are relevant to that person's lifestyle. It's a strategy known as personalized marketing.

Let's Talk Personalized Marketing

The concept of personalized marketing is pretty simple: build your message so that it fits a particular person or audience group (like pet owners).

It's targeted and specific, relying on things like purchase history and databases, like Amazon does, to make relevant recommendations or present product ideas to the consumer. Maybe that sounds like a lot of work (and it can be), but the upside is that you're generating really targeted content to an audience that's already engaged in a particular product category or industry, so the chances of making sales increases exponentially.

Ever visited a website that asked you a host of personal questions: your age, gender, likes or preferences? Odds are, you were participating in a personalization ''test'' of sorts to help a business identify items that may be of interest to you. Later, they can send you a personalized email with applicable content or build a personalized homepage of product recommendations.

Instead of approaching every consumer generically, brands appear as though they're addressing you personally with customized offers that you're more likely to buy. It's a win-win: consumers get really significant messaging and a better shopping experience, and brands generate more revenue and stand to make more conversions.

But, How Do I Do It?

So, you're a marketer who wants to get to know your customers and develop a personalized marketing strategy? Here are the things you need to know to get started:

1. Capture data. Use questionnaires, surveys or web cookies (bits of code you can hide on a user's computer to track their browsing and buying habits). Build buyer personas; that is, develop a fictitious character with your real customers' data (age, marital status, education, etc.) so you can develop targeted messaging.

2. Analyze data. Capturing the data is obviously the first step, but analyzing it to make the appropriate personalizations is key. Do you want to create personas for pet owners as a whole or segment pet owners into dog people and cat people? How you break down the data can impact your personalized marketing.

3. Act on the data. Personalized marketing requires software programs and advanced technology that will handle the hard work of building customized marketing and messaging for your various customers.

More Examples

Still not sure about personalized marketing? Consider these examples of personalized marketing winners.


Perhaps not quite as sophisticated as Amazon's algorithms for determining who purchases what, Coca-Cola nevertheless generated buzz around their soda when they printed labels that said, ''Share a Coke with (insert name here).'' Really? You can buy a bottle of Coke with your own name on it?

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