When we try to imagine the future, the idea of widespread personalization often comes to mind. In the future, Siri turns into Her, and the Jetsons' space house has poured George’s morning espresso by the time he gets out of his space bed.

We're drawn to the idea not just because it sounds great but because it’s believable. Even today, personalization is changing the way we communicate, live, and shop. Our smartphones can learn our names, our smart homes can adjust their temperature based on the time of day, and the espresso thing is only a matter of time.

The Disconnect Between Knowing and Applying That Knowledge

Why aren't today’s leading retail companies personalizing their marketing?

SimpleRelevance analyzed more than 300 Internet retailer companies and discovered that almost all fail to personalize their customers' online experience in any capacity. Only 7% of the 329 companies addressed the recipients of their emails by name.

That's a pretty straightforward approach to marketing personalization, but it has a powerful effect on consumers.

According to a 2013 email marketing study conducted by Experian Marketing Services, personalizing a subject line results in increased email open rates of 26%. For example, just by saying something like "Hey, Sarah, We Thought You Might Like These Jumpsuits" that business can see a powerful lift.

Marketers that delve beyond the subject line and personalize the content of their emails are rewarded even further.

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image of Erik Severinghaus

Erik Severinghaus is the founder and CEO of SimpleRelevance, a provider of personalized marketing communication solutions.

LinkedIn: Erik Severinghaus