Top 5 Personalization Myths

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This is a podcast episode titled, Top 5 Personalization Myths. The summary for this episode is: <p><strong>Unravel the truth behind personalized marketing.&nbsp;</strong>In this enlightening episode of Level Up, Jordan and Laura lay out the truth behind common misconceptions surrounding personalization.</p><p><br></p><p>They explore the power of data-driven marketing, sharing insights and expert tips to help you navigate the exciting and not-so-scary world of personalized experiences for your customers. From understanding the value of data transparency to embracing small wins and ambitious goals, these two provide actionable advice for marketers of all levels. So tune in and discover how to create meaningful connections with your audience through personalization.</p><p><br></p><p><strong>Listen in for:</strong></p><p>[09:01&nbsp;-&nbsp;13:55] 💡Personalization Myth #1: Data has to be perfect to be personalized</p><p>[14:08&nbsp;-&nbsp;18:45] Personalization Myth #2: I don't have enough data on my prospects or customers to personalize the customer experience</p><p>[19:52&nbsp;-&nbsp;24:29] 💥 Personalization Myth #3: I need every piece of content ready to deliver a personalized experience</p><p>[25:08&nbsp;-&nbsp;29:07] 🪄 Personalization Myth #4: You don't have a large enough team to focus on personalization</p><p>[30:28&nbsp;-&nbsp;35:52] 🧟 Personalization Myth #5: Personalization can be creepy, I don't want to scare customers away</p><p>[38:29&nbsp;-&nbsp;40:22] 🧩 Personalization Best Practices</p>
💡Personalization Myth #1: Data Has To Be Perfect To Be Personalized
04:53 MIN
📷 Personalization Myth #2: I Don't Have Enough Data On My Prospects Or Customers To Personalize The Customer Experience
04:36 MIN
💥 Personalization Myth #3: I Need Every Piece of Content Ready To Deliver A Personalized Experience
04:36 MIN
🪄 Personalization Myth #4: I Don't Have A Large Enough Team To Focus On Personalization
03:59 MIN
🧟 Personalization Myth #5: Personalization Can Be Creepy, I Don't Want To Scare Customers Away
05:24 MIN
🧩 Personalization Best Practices
01:53 MIN

Jordan Kraus: Thank you for joining us for this episode of Level Up, the podcast for marketers by marketers created by Lev that distills best practices and strategies focus on helping marketers increase their EXP, one up their strategy, and grow personally and professionally. We're your hosts. I'm Jordan Kraus, client success partner.

Lauren Madden: And I am Lauren Madden, the manager of our marketing strategy and services team. And today, we are very excited to talk about the top five personalization myths. Number four, you won't believe it. I'm just kidding. I had to go crazy buzzfeed on it. And, building off of the idea of myths, Jordan and I have decided to do two truths and a lie, and we have not heard these before, you are hearing our live reactions. And, Jordan just informed me that she is going to be very intense in questioning me about mine. So, I'm a little nervous. But with that, Jordan, hit me with them, and I will probably be wrong, but let's hear it.

Jordan Kraus: So feel free to ask any follow- up questions after I lay these facts in front of you. So these are my two truths in a way. Number one, my little brothers are identical twins, only born three minutes apart. Number two, my mom was born on Friday the 13th. Number three, six months ago I found a stray purebred French bulldog and took him in.

Lauren Madden: Okay. So, I'm feeling like there were a lot of details in the one with your brothers, and it could be almost true, but maybe they were born five minutes apart. So you're like, " Well, it was kind of true. But, I fudged it a little bit." So that's where my brain is going.

Jordan Kraus: Okay.

Lauren Madden: I feel like I've seen your Instagram and the dog one feels true to me. But again, maybe you're being sneaky and it's a slightly different breed, or it's not a purebred, or something.

Jordan Kraus: Feel free to ask any questions. You're welcome to ask. Ask away.

Lauren Madden: I mean, I feel like the mom one is true. I think I'm just going to say the brothers, there's something off there. That's what I think your lie is.

Jordan Kraus: Final answer?

Lauren Madden: Final answer.

Jordan Kraus: You're right. That's the lie. I'm an only child. I have no brothers.

Lauren Madden: Oh, okay.

Jordan Kraus: I have no siblings at all.

Lauren Madden: I'm an only child too. I didn't even know this about us.

Jordan Kraus: That's so cool. I didn't know that either.

Lauren Madden: Oh my gosh.

Jordan Kraus: That's funny. It's such a good line, because it's very convincing. But for the record, I would never do that whole five minutes, three minutes thing. That's awful. I would never do that to you.

Lauren Madden: Some people are sneaky.

Jordan Kraus: But Buster was a stray in my neighborhood, and I was looking for his owner for months, and we never found his owner. He wasn't microchipped. And, I found him the day before Thanksgiving and we were going to give him up, and then I just eventually decided to take him in, and then I got a DNA test on him literally two weeks ago and found out that he was purebred. And I was like, " What? What is this? This is so strange." All right, so I'm ready to hear. I feel fully prepared for yours.

Lauren Madden: Oh, gosh.

Jordan Kraus: I might take notes.

Lauren Madden: Okay. Mine are all in the vein of travel and international. I went with a theme. So number one, my family has a castle in Switzerland. Number two, my favorite vacation was to Thailand. And number three, I went on a dance trip to Australia in middle school.

Jordan Kraus: A dance trip.

Lauren Madden: Mm- hmm.

Jordan Kraus: So you did dance?

Lauren Madden: I did.

Jordan Kraus: What dance did you do?

Lauren Madden: Tap, jazz, ballet.

Jordan Kraus: And, did you do it through high school or did you stop in middle school?

Lauren Madden: I did it through high school. I was on the dance team. I was that chick.

Jordan Kraus: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. And, Madden doesn't strike me as a Swiss name. Are you British?

Lauren Madden: No. But I am married.

Jordan Kraus: Okay. Fair enough. And then, the favorite vacation. So wait, what's your maiden name?

Lauren Madden: Schrader.

Jordan Kraus: Mm- hmm. Mm- hmm. Okay. And then, your favorite vacation, Thailand, I feel is like, okay, you must have hated Thailand or something. And that's why that could be the lie is that you absolutely despised going to Thailand. But, I think you like Thai food. So, I'm going to say the Thailand one is the lie. I'm going to say that it wasn't your favorite vacation.

Lauren Madden: You picked the right one. And it's because I've never been to Thailand.

Jordan Kraus: Oh. Well we both got ours.

Lauren Madden: I know.

Jordan Kraus: Are we very perceptive or are we bad liars? I don't know.

Lauren Madden: Maybe both. Maybe both.

Jordan Kraus: That was a great icebreaker. That was a really good idea.

Lauren Madden: I shouldn't have given away that reminded you that Madden is not the name I was born with.

Jordan Kraus: Yeah, you should have been like, "Yeah, Madden."

Lauren Madden: I should've just let it go. But even then, it's not my dad's family. It's my mom's family.

Jordan Kraus: That's the thing. Yeah.

Lauren Madden: So, it really... Yeah.

Jordan Kraus: But a castle, who has the castle?

Lauren Madden: Well, so my grandma, her dad was born in Switzerland. He was a shoemaker and he came on vacation to Kansas because he liked it because it was flat, because Switzerland is not flat, and he liked it and he stayed there. So, he still has first cousins and things like that over there. And apparently, you can just scoop up castles like nobody's business, that they just go into foreclosure, and it's like, " Oh yeah, you want a castle?" It's not as big of a deal as you might think. So, they just bought it up, and run it, and you can stay there. And we discovered this, and we were letting them know that my grandma had passed years ago. And so, I'm just like, " Note to self, we need to get over there."

Jordan Kraus: Wow. That is fascinating.

Lauren Madden: Yeah.

Jordan Kraus: The people of Denver, Colorado who are paying all cash for homes need to know this, so they can go live.

Lauren Madden: Go get you a castle over-

Jordan Kraus: Go find a castle. You could still ski over there. You could still hike things.

Lauren Madden: ...Yeah, this is true. But then no, I don't want them buying them all up because then what will I buy with my millions that I have pocketed?

Jordan Kraus: And what will you use for your cool fact?

Lauren Madden: Right. What will I use that people can't? Oh, boy. Well, now that we've gotten our myths out of the way, and Jordan and I have discovered that we are very good sleuthers, we can hop into the actual topic of this podcast, which is, personalization myths. So, we can all just lay it out on the table that we like personalization, we want to do personalization. But some people might still have some personalization reservations, reservations about personalization of like, " I know I should do it, but here's maybe some reasons why I can't, why I shouldn't." That might not be 100% valid, or we might be able to overcome some of those objections. So, with that in mind, we'll kick off. I'm going to state number one. And ooh, this maybe is a point counterpoint. I'll start it out. And then Jordan, you come at me like you're in a high school debate. So, personalization myth number one, " I am a marketer and I think that to personalize my data, all my data has to be perfect. I cannot possibly start doing any personalization until I completely clean up my database, because it's just going to be for nothing. If my data's a mess, my personalization's going to be a mess, and it's just not going to work." Jordan, come at me. Why is that not true?

Jordan Kraus: Well, the funny thing is, the first thing I want to do is acknowledge your feelings that that's a real concern. That is a genuine concern. There's probably a lot of opportunity in your data for things to be fixed and that's okay. A lot of people feel this way. But, I think, the underlying message here is your data's never going to be perfect. It's never going to be perfect. And instead of focusing on just trying to get your data clean and do a full audit of everything in your data, you have to think about what your plan is for using that data to implement certain use cases. So, basically to say, it is so overwhelming to think, "Oh, I need to identify all of the issues with my data, create an action plan to fix them, and then I'm able to actually use the data." And I think that's where a lot of people get stuck.

Lauren Madden: Well, first, thank you for acknowledging my feelings. I feel heard. I think that's really important, and I completely agree with the idea of, it's never going to be perfect. It's the saying, progress not perfection. And I think some of that is also just being specific and defining what progress in personalization means for you and your business. Obviously, part of identifying some of those use cases is going to be creating that big old wishlist of like, " Wouldn't it be cool if I knew all of these things about all of my customers and prospects and I could speak to all of them one- to- one?" And not discounting that, because that could eventually happen. Maybe use something like Data Cloud to help you activate there. But, that's valid. But it's also that maturity and crawl, walk, run mentality of maybe personalization for you, if you're just doing batch and blast and you don't have any lifecycle triggers, a personalization win for you could be, " We launch a birthday email and we identify two additional segments that we can use for our ongoing campaigns." Those are valid, and that is progress, and that is personalization, more than what you're doing now, and you probably only need a few data points to do that. For birthday, " Let's go find..." You'll probably uncover a couple things of, " Ooh, I only have birth month from this source. I have birth- date from this source. Let's do that. Maybe we meet in the middle. We just send a birthday email the first of the month." But I'm flagging this as like, " When we get to that, let's make sure we're cleaning up our birthday data and getting as much information as we can." Jordan, you brought up a great point earlier about let's educate the boots on the ground of why it's important to put in the birthday data appropriately and not just default to 01/ 01/1900, because that's not a great personalization experience for people. But that does not involve or require you to have all of your data clean. That requires you to figure out what you're using for birthday. Done, you've launched it, hopefully you get some more revenue from it. You can call that a win, you've personalized. So I think, defining what personalization means to you and what that measure of success is, is really important and makes it feel less overwhelming from a data perspective, because then, you just have to get those couple little points together.

Jordan Kraus: And, otherwise, you're just going to be a busy bee constantly trying to find things and never getting started. It's cyclical. Your data's never going to be perfect. As soon as you uncover an opportunity, you'll find a new one. And so, I think it's important to just have the routine of discovering what you want to use the data for, making a plan, documenting the plan, testing and executing, and then creating a feedback loop to operations. If there's a reason why you uncover why your data is inaccurate, you document what it is that needs to change and why it's important. I really liked the metaphor that you talked about, about cleaning your house before people come over. As soon as they get over, the house is not going to be clean anymore. But, I think the metaphor is, you don't need to clean the baseboards, you don't need to fully clean the windows, and do a deep clean before you're able to have anyone over to your house, because then you'll never have guests. But, it is overwhelming, and I think the emotional aspect of, " Oh my gosh, I have to go clean up all of my data, otherwise I can't start." Can be where people get stuck.

Lauren Madden: Yeah.

Jordan Kraus: So, bringing us to personalization myth number two. " Even if I wanted to, I don't have enough data on my prospects or customers to personalize the customer experience."

Lauren Madden: Oh, boy. Well Jordan, number one, that's probably not true. You probably have more than you think you do. So, there's probably more that you're going to uncover. I feel like as we were talking earlier, it's a data onion. Everybody talks about the data lake, but what about the data onion? Because you just peel back the layers.

Jordan Kraus: That's great.

Lauren Madden: You're just going to find more. So, you probably have more than you think. But I think it's also important to think about the different types of data that you have. And we're probably thinking, you've got your core things. I feel like people get caught up in like, " Well, I don't have first name for everybody. So how the heck am I going to do anything?" Or, whatever. It's like, " Okay, that's fine. You know what? There are ways that you could figure out first name. Maybe you do like a data append. Maybe you do some progressive profiling to figure that out and update your preference center." I think we've all gotten those emails. And, all of that is going to be helpful, because we won't turn this into a third- party cookie podcast, but we all know that they're partially going away, are going to fully go away. And so, that first- party data is really important. So, if you are in that instance where you're like, " Shoot, I do not have enough data." Think about prioritizing some of that first- party data, because then you own it, it's yours, you'll be able to use it ongoing for the future. And then, you might have heard some inklings of zero- party data. " What the heck is that? How is that even a thing?" That can go into some of those inferred preferences or explicit preferences that people give. So, an explicit preference could be like, I straight up ask you, " What are you shopping for? I'm a retail brand, what are you shopping for?" And I say, " I shop for women's jeans." Cool, that's an explicit preference. Whereas, if I am tracking where people are clicking in emails and I've said, " Jordan has clicked on women's jeans four times in the last month. I'm going to infer that she likes women's jeans." And maybe just prioritize that content in the future. If I'm wrong, it's low stakes, it's not a big deal. That's okay. But that's, again, a level of personalization. And some of those personal preferences and shopping preferences are considered that zero- party data. So again, lots of different types of data. Don't count yourself out and generalize and say, " Oh my gosh, I don't have these two key pieces of data for every single person in my database, so it's all for nothing. I'm throwing my papers up in the air, and so I'm done." It's okay. Just like it's okay if it's not all clean, it's okay if it's not fully complete. Maybe that's where you start with what data do you have a lot of, it could be an obscure thing, but you realize, " Oh, that's actually something that would be valuable to personalize on." Maybe it's not the most obvious thing, but that's okay if it's important to your customers and prospects, go for it. So, I think, that's a really great way to think about it of, I think you just give yourself grace with all of this. I feel like this is turning into a therapy session. I'm like, " Guys, it's okay. It's just personalization. You can do it."

Jordan Kraus: I just want to recap how beautiful your response was just to that myth. Just for folks who feel like they don't know where to start, they don't have any first- party data, we are saying loud and clear, build a first- party data strategy. Start somewhere. And then, the other thing that Laura's talking about is inferred and explicit. So you might think, "I don't have enough data. I don't want to go ask all of my customers to tell me what their preferences are." There probably still is some digital engagement data that you can use to infer preferences and just test. So, if you're not sure, test it, it doesn't work, that's okay. You had a hypothesis and you tested it. And now, you can try something different. But, it's better to do something. It's better to try something than to be completely frozen and do nothing at all. So, I think, that's really well stated.

Lauren Madden: Well, thank you. So, we've addressed the data elephant in the room, right? We call it data- driven personalization for a reason. That's one thing you can't get past. You do have to have some data to do this, right? But something else that can be a roadblock or a hindrance for some people for doing personalization, aside from data, is the content of it all. So, our myth number three is that, I'm sitting here as a marketer and I'm saying, " Ooh, to deliver personalized experience, I am going to need a ton of extra design assets. I'm going to need blog posts. I'm going to need content. I'm going to need imagery. I'm going to need photography for every single persona. My brain is going crazy with all of the different permutations and branching of personalization. And so, for that reason, I'm out. I can't do it." So, Jordan, why might that be a myth?

Jordan Kraus: I want to acknowledge, again, how... I'm just kidding. But, I do think this is not just a concern when it comes to personalization. Oftentimes, when it comes to digital transformation, building out teams, there's a huge emphasis on the labor that it takes to build assets. But, personalization is not about creating new assets, it's about getting the right assets that you have to the right audience at the right time. So, it's just about getting folks to the content that you have, maybe that's not top of mind for them. But now, you know something about them that would lead you believe that that could be something that they're interested in. I really like this topic about, " Do I have to make a lot of content for personalization?" This comes up a lot when we're implementing Marketing Cloud personalization, previously Interaction Studio, where a lot of folks felt the same way. If I wanted to create a personalized experience on my website that I'd have to create a lot more website content, product pages, or articles, blog content. When the truth is, you likely already have a lot of that content. Some of it might even be evergreen content. And it's just a matter of building an experience for the user so that they are walking through the content, they're seeing different content, you're collecting their engagement with it, seeing what they're interested in, and just serving up to them, things that you already have in your pocketbook. It's really the opposite of making large investments, and building more content, and that it's trying to squeeze the juice from the lemon of the content that you already have and get the biggest bang for your buck by making sure that it gets to the right person.

Lauren Madden: Yeah, I think that's completely valid, and squeezing that juice of the lemon, and making lemonade out of it, right? Making it work for you. I think sometimes, personalization can just mean, "I sent this person to a different landing page that already exists." Instead of just sending everyone to the same landing page. That's personalization, right? That can happen. Sometimes personalization can just be dynamic content. We love a good AMPscript in Salesforce Marketing Cloud that's just saying, "If this, then pull in either this image that I already have in my image library, I'm just going to prioritize it for this person. Or, change up the copy a little bit." We know copies a lot easier to create than an image. So, again, what does that definition of personalization mean to you? It does not have to be, "Oh, this one person has to get a completely different and unique email than someone else." That does not have to be the thing, because guess what? They're not comparing notes to the other people. They don't know. It's just their own experience. So like, "Oh Jordan, what did you get from brand so-and-so today? Did we get something different?" It's not a thing. I don't know, maybe it is. Maybe for us marketing nerds we do that.

Jordan Kraus: Personalization is not content. Personalization is experience. And sometimes, that personalization could even come in the form of suppression. If somebody has a customer service case, and now you're not spending ad money on them. If they've already converted, you don't need to spend more ad money on them, and that is a personalized experience as well. So, just getting out of the mind frame that personalization equals content, that's not the case. Personalization equals experience.

Lauren Madden: You guys can't see, my mind, it's just blown, mic drop, Jordan. That was perfect and spot on. It doesn't always have to be content. But, the last thing I'll leave this on is, if content is an element of your personalization, again, we won't make this a podcast about generative AI, but that's a thing that is going to start helping people with that content and break down that barrier for having all of that content available, giving it over to the machines and the AI of it all with valid prompts, with good human interaction to guide it, so that you feel confident in it. But eventually, that will help ease that burden too for the marketer. So, when content does become something that you need for personalization, generative AI can help there as well.

Jordan Kraus: And I bet you're going to say the same thing in the next myth. Personalization myth number four, " We don't have a large enough team to focus on personalization. We just don't have the resources, the people to focus on this." A lot of times people feel like they're just barely keeping the lights on. It's just a matter of" What can I do to make sure that the mandatory campaigns that we need to execute are getting out the door?" So, I mean, that can feel really overwhelming too is like, " I'm already trying to keep the lights on. How do I add on top of that another level of work?"

Lauren Madden: Yeah, I would say, similar to your statement of personalization does not necessarily equal content. I would say, personalization does not necessarily equal more effort in the long run, because some of this... Yes, you might have a ramp up to do a personalization, but personalization many times is in the form of dynamic content that just works on its own. So, where you might be doing a lot of manual effort right now to get those campaigns out the door, once you can apply some of that segmentation, my guess is, a lot of that manual effort will go away. Personalization can also really help your teams work smarter, not harder, which probably also means you're not doing all of those manual things, or you can focus your efforts elsewhere. So you don't necessarily need more team members, different team members to do it. Now, there is typically some internal enablement and education. We see this a lot with clients. It's a shift in mindset. If you've been in the grind of, "This is how we send. This is how we do business." It's not that you're anti-personalization, you're anti-dynamic content, it's just a different way of thinking, and it can take a while. So, you need to be okay with that, again, upfront investment in that. But knowing that the payoff and that ROI is going to be probably more efficiency. We can't make promises, but we get to that nirvana of personalization at scale, it's taking some of that manual work off of your team, off of your marketing team, probably off of your IT team, because you get a little bit of that set it and forget it. We know we don't ever truly forget it, because we're always revisiting and optimizing. But, personalization can help allow for that through that automation to make things run more smoothly.

Jordan Kraus: I think the other thing that we were just talking about is leveraging other automation tools, leveraging AI to do some of the work that maybe you're doing manually. I really like what you're saying too about, it's just a shift in mindset, because especially as a marketer right now, and the way that marketers are incented isn't always results based. A lot of marketers are incented by how many campaigns they execute. The irony being that the number of campaigns you execute doesn't exactly equal ROI. So, I think that's really interesting too, is that, you might be executing the same campaigns over and over again, because that's what's on the calendar. That's what you did last year. That's expected of your role. But it could be preventing you from driving reasonable ROI to the bottom line. So, there could be a number of campaigns that you might need to assess and understand like, " What is the return on some of these campaigns?" And maybe that is a place where you can find room to be more strategic, because you can eliminate work that's not proving results. Because to your point, there might be a little work upfront to automate personalization and simply in understanding what is the use of the birthday campaign you were talking about before. We develop the use case, we develop the campaign, we execute it, we create a feedback loop. And once you take all those steps, now you have a birthday campaign that's just running. So you have one less campaign that you have to worry about each month. So, the work is worth it upfront. And it is a paradigm shift, thinking about putting that work upfront and trusting those automations to run and properly work.

Lauren Madden: Yeah, it's the digital equivalent of mailbox money. That birthday campaign is working. It's running and hopefully generating incremental revenue from that personalization, and that's where you get that ROI. So, yeah, we're all about the automation with the personalization. We're obviously all about personalization, but our last myth that some people still hold to even just a little bit in the back of your mind, it's nagging. You're like, " I don't know." There's still some thinking out there that personalization can be creepy. " I don't want to scare away potential customers." Even if you as the main marketing guru might not believe that, maybe some of your senior leadership or some of your C- suite has that feeling and is squashing any personalization and you're having to potentially make the case up to do that. Or, maybe you had a bad experience in the past and you're like, "Ugh, I'm just a little bit nervous about it." So again, this is valid, but we want to talk about why this might not be as much of a problem as you think. And guess what? We've got stats y'all.

Jordan Kraus: Well, talking about personalization being an experience, this is an argument that says personalization is a bad experience. And what we're saying is that, it doesn't have to be a bad experience. You should have a strategy. You should test what you think will be effective, and then look at those results carefully. But in this day and age, it goes without saying that customers absolutely expect personalization. It is what you are giving them in return for collecting all of their data. I expect to have good service from my bank, because they are using all of my money for their own transactions. I expect these companies who are hosting my data to be responsible with it, but also, for them to do something with all of that data. And that's just where we are now is in terms of consumer expectations. So, I think it's easy for stakeholders who are overwhelmed by the first four myths that we walk through to end it with, "Well, even if you did do it, how do you know that it wouldn't cross the line?" So, I think this is an easy out to get out of personalization to say, "Let's not even bother, because here's examples of where it's been seen as creepy." And I think the other thing too is we're still talking about how much we trust big tech companies for listening to the information. How much of this information are we explicitly giving? How much of this are they just collecting?

Lauren Madden: Yeah, I think, just being trustworthy and transparent with that data is going to be the key and how you're using it. We were giving examples earlier of the customer has that expectation and they know like, " Yeah, I'm giving you this, so I can get better service from you." They want to really have that relationship. We see that especially with younger consumers, but it's across everywhere. We were talking about the instance of context, and does it make sense for your type of business to be asking for this information? So, a bank or financial institution, for example, it feels valid to have as part of a preference center understanding, " Did you just get married? Are you looking to buy a house soon? Are you expanding your family?" Whatever. Those don't seem out of place to ask and people are okay with sharing that because it's like, " Yeah, I need your help with this. I am expanding my family, and so what savings accounts do I need? I need your help with a mortgage. I need things like that." Now, for a retail company, is it really valid for you to ask me if I'm going to buy a house in the next two years? No. And that feels weird. " What are you going to do with this? I don't need to tell you that. But if you ask me, do you like red or blue shirts? Yeah, sure, I'll tell you that." Conversely, a bank doesn't need to know that. So I think some of it is just understanding the customer context, and also we can put ourselves in the shoes. We experience this every day. We give out, to your point Jordan, knowingly or unknowingly, a lot more data on a daily basis that we probably think about. And think about, do you think it's creepy? I bet you like having those personalized recommendations in your TikTok, in your Instagram, you like the algorithms. I like how Amazon upsells me. I'm okay with it. So, just understanding, putting yourself in those shoes of how you experience personalization as a consumer can help ease some of those worries.

Jordan Kraus: And if it's done in a transparent matter, where the consumer understands what their information is going to be used for, they also should be given the option to not receive the personalized communication in return for not giving their information. So, this is something that's completely optional, and what we find in our research in the recent Salesforce consumer report that 61% of consumers are comfortable with companies using relevant personal information if done in a transparent and beneficial manner. So, we just want to know what it's going to be used for. We want to know that like, " Is it going to improve the recommendations that you give me? Because you can see my purchase history. Maybe if I'm purchasing makeup, I love when I'm able to tell you the undertones of my skin or perfume. I'm able to tell you the scents that I like. And then you can recommend a perfume to me." Those are very valuable customer experiences where we feel like we're getting a guided one- to- one experience. We're willing to give that information. But I think that your example, or between the bank and retail, is it appropriate for a retail store to understand the life stages that I'm in? Maybe that is appropriate for a financial system. There has to be some strategy around it. But the bottom line is that, it's done in a transparent and beneficial matter. And I would also add to that the conversation about privacy, which is that, and folks should have the option to opt out of any of the personalization as well.

Lauren Madden: Yeah. Yeah, I think the other key point of that stat is relevant information. They're happy to share relevant information, which goes back to that. It's like, "I'm not just going to tell you anything about me just for the sake of it." Because that's where the mistrust comes of like, " Why do you need this? Are you going to go sell this?" So all of that thing is the privacy, transparency, all of that. But really, bottom line, if you're not shady, it's not creepy, right? That's really it. Just be a responsible steward of data and you'll be just fine. So, that's one takeaway, maybe not quite as formalized as we had listed out. Don't be shady. But it's just a good business practice anyway. But we've got a list of personalization best practices. So if you take nothing else away from this, if we lost you at two truths and a lie, hopefully you came back to the end of it, and you're good with this. I'll kick us off with the first three is, again, be transparent about that data you're collecting and how it's being used, that really gets rid of that creep factor, and just sets you up for success all around. The next one is my favorite idea of crawl, walk, run. Start small. Again, it can just be a couple additional segments for your ongoing sends. It can be a birthday email and build from there. Define what that success of personalization looks like for you. It's okay if it's not what your competitors are doing. They had to start small too. They didn't go from 0 to 100. So, just start small and you'll be good. But with that, the last one I'll talk about is, you still want to have that aspirational wishlist. You still want to have that north star of, " Ooh, we really want to get here. This is our ultimate goal for personalization." It helps to inform and guide that backlog of things that you might uncover with your data onion. And, looking at what's next and prioritizing for the future. So you don't want to dismiss those long- term goals, but break it up into, " What are my quick wins? How can I get this proof of concept time to value ROI out of the gate? And then what am I doing in the future?" Jordan, what are your takeaways?

Jordan Kraus: I'd say, last couple takeaways. Experiment. Write a hypothesis. Experiment with A/ B testing. Document what the results of that test were. You can make some assumptions about how you think personalization methods will work. That's why you're never going to be fully replaced by AI, because you are strategic. You are a strategic marketer. And so, just build a theory around how you think the personalization method will work. And then, you can use those results to determine whether or not it resonated with your customers. So, stop guessing, and build the strategy, and be ready to fail. Be ready to fail fast, and go make the mistake, and see what comes out of it. And then, this last takeaway, just don't give up. Personalization is a journey, not a destination. It is cyclical. It is something that you're going to be constantly trying to improve, and understand, and optimize. If you could spend an unlimited budget in marketing, all you would be doing is trying to understand your customer. And so, it's just really that simple. That's really what it comes down to. So, build a plan, test it, see how it works, don't give up. And, lastly but certainly not least, document your results. I think every single time you either start a new job, or you're changing departments, there's a lack of documentation. And so, we really don't have any history of what we've done in the past of what our department has tried to do, what's worked, what hasn't worked. And it feels like we're always starting from square one. And I think that's where a lot of these myths come from, because we're starting from square one. So, document your results, learn from your mistakes, and build on top of those tests to build a full personalization strategy. And those are my main takeaways from our podcast today.

Lauren Madden: Wise words from counselor/ therapist Jordan. I feel like, get up off the couch now. All right. Well, with that, thank you for joining us for this episode of Level Up. Are you looking to continue to level up your knowledge on the latest news, technology, and marketing trends affecting marketers day- to- day? Stay tuned for future episodes of Level Up with new episodes coming out every other Thursday on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Until next time, thank you for leveling up your marketing knowledge with us.


Unravel the truth behind personalized marketing. In this enlightening episode of Level Up, Jordan and Laura lay out the truth behind common misconceptions surrounding customized marketing strategies.

They explore the power of data-driven marketing, sharing insights and expert tips to help you navigate the exciting and not-so-scary world of personalized experiences for your customers. From understanding the value of data transparency to embracing small wins and ambitious goals, these two provide actionable advice for marketers of all levels. So tune in and discover how to create meaningful connections with your audience through personalization.

Today's Guests

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Jordan Kraus

|Client Success Partner, Marketing Strategist, Lev
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Laura Madden

|Sr. Manager, Marketing Strategy & Services