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Personalization – You’re Doing It All Wrong

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

I was recently at an event (won’t name the organzsation) – Moving Beyond Personalization in Prospecting – where the premise was that personalization, as a sales & marketing tool, has failed. The general thrust being that people have gotten used to it, they know what to expect, and so it’s no longer effective, etcetera.

Of course, being in the business of personalization, I’m biased, but I disagree with the core premise of that thesis.

It’s not that personalization doesn’t work or has failed us. It’s because you / we / everyone has been doing it all wrong.

Take the following example of a “personalized” email I receive on average once every 3 days as a member of Qantas Frequent Flyer ("QFF" for short):

[NB. Australia’s largest loyalty program - >12m members. So not exactly starving for capability.]

The issue here isn’t that they’ve personalized it with my own FF number and points at the top. That’s easy to do.

The problem is that the rest of the message itself is completely generic and stock standard to all the other 11,999,999 QFF members. So where’s the personalization in that?

And to top it all off? I don’t even drink wine!

We're Personalizing With The Wrong Data

Now, I get it. As a marketer, you've got questions:

How do I know you don't drink wine?

There's no obvious data point to tell (or so you believe), so you keep on sending me similar messages hoping I'll take at some point.

But that's stupid. I'm never going to engage with that message because it just isn't me. It isn't part of my profile as a customer.

But if you think about it, it wouldn't actually be a stretch at all for QFF to figure this out about me:

• Times I’ve engaged with their wine offers: 0

• Times I’ve ordered wine on a Qantas flight: 0

• Times I’ve purchased wine through one of QFF’s partners: 0

(Clearly I’m not a wine person or alcohol in general, but that’s a story for another day.)

We Need to Personalize Better

So the problem isn’t personalization itself. It’s that we’re personalizing on the wrong things. So many marketing platforms promote themselves on their personalization capabilities, when really all that’s being changed is first name, company name, location, etc., but the core message remains exactly the same.

Rather, we need to go back to Marketing 101 – personalizing based on a customer’s profile, and their implicit & explicit interests, needs & behaviours.

That’s why our Smart Video Experiences are different. Sure, we can also personalize based on hard data such as name and company as well. But the beauty of our service is that we can create experiences that best reflect the customer and make the content and message personalized and relevant to them.

That’s personalization that feels natural & relevant. That connects with your customers on a deeper, more personal level.

Personalization that helps to show them that your business, your brand understands them on an individual level – not just another wine-drinking QFF number.


Personalization isn’t dead. We just need to do it right.

Want to deliver more personalized experiences to your customers that create actionable engagement? Reach out for a chat!



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