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Personalization and the Customer Experience in Digital Marketing [Research]

Authors: Todd Lebo Todd Lebo
Posted Under: Customer Experience
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Personalization and the Customer Experience in Digital Marketing [Research]


Today’s customers and consumers expect a highly relevant experience throughout the entire buying journey and beyond.

But how are marketers utilizing and optimizing personalization to improve the digital customer experience?

To help answer this question, Ascend2 surveyed 364 marketing professionals in December of 2021 and published the research study, Personalization in Digital Marketing

Here are a few of the key findings on how marketers are utilizing and optimizing personalization to improve the digital and customer experience.

Finding #1: What is Critical to Achieving Success?

When strategically implemented and executed, personalization can build trust and loyalty with your audience. But what is crucial to effective execution? 

Marketers report that creating and delivering relevant content and managing customer/consumer expectations are the most critical elements needed to execute an effective personalization strategy.


Critical Elements to Personalization Strategy Success

Here are 4 steps to creating and delivering relevant content that improves the customer experience:

  • Know your audience: Research and understand the demographics and psychographics of your ideal audience. Think about that audience in terms of their pain points and how you can provide them valuable content to solve their problems.
  • Define your content goals: For what part of the marketing funnel (top, middle, bottom) are you creating content? How will you measure success? 
  • Create Buyer Personas: Construct a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer. Use that persona to relate to your audience as real humans. 
  • Consider SEO: Create a list of keywords, do SEO research, and apply SEO best practices to your content. It is pointless to write great content and have minimal people find and read that content. Great content is a balance between SEO and quality content.  

Finding 2: Top Challenges to Success

The needs and expectations of customers have shifted drastically in the past year and will continue to evolve. 39% of marketers report that managing customer/consumer expectations is a top challenge to the successful execution of a personalization strategy. Obtaining sufficient budget and resources to execute also tops the list for 38% of marketers surveyed. 


Top Challenges to a Successful Personalization Strategy


To overcome the challenge of using personalization to improve the customer experience, use as much segmentation as possible. You can never use too much segmentation to help deliver a personalized experience that customers appreciate and expect. 

Instead of segmenting only on one criterion, like job title (human resource professionals), try adding company size (50 – 500 employees), and industry (technology) to get a more targeted audience and user experience. With the appropriate segmentation of your customer data, you can better manage customer expectations. 

Finding 3: Making the Most Impact

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of marketing professionals see the most impact from the use of personalization in their email marketing efforts. Email personalization has become increasingly accessible to most businesses regardless of size, budget, or marketing channel. Over half (54%) of those surveyed say that website personalization is also a most impactful use. 

Most Impactful Digital Experience to Use Personalization


For email, the user experience includes accessibility, navigation, content, design, sharing options, opt-in options, call-to-action (CTA) links, and engagement. Does your email program show that you have a deep understanding of the user, what they need, what they value, and what they asked for? Do your emails show that you value their time? From the subject line to the CTA, your emails should be personalized to provide the best possible experience for the user.

Finding 4: Benefits of Personalization

Nearly half (49%) of marketing professionals surveyed report that increased customer retention is one of the top benefits realized from a successful personalization strategy. Other significant results from effective personalization include improved customer experience and increased engagement according to 43% of those surveyed, respectively. 

Greatest Benefits of a Successful Personalization Strategy

A personalized customer experience makes it possible to deliver tailored messaging, content, offers, and products to each person. Improved customer experience and increased retention go hand in hand, and personalization is a critical component in achieving success.

Download Personalization in Digital Marketing to learn more.


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