A Gentleman's C: Email Marketers Grade Themselves On Personalization

Personalization is often discussed as if it were second nature to marketers. But when asked to grade their efforts, only 6% give themselves an A, and 29% a B, according to 2018 Trends In Personalization, a study by Evergage Inc. and Researchscape.   

Worse, 46% award themselves a C, and 17% a D. Finally, 2% admit to a grade of F.

One problem is that 55% lack the data and insights for effective personalization. B2B brands are more likely to say this than B2C, at a margin of 58% to 39%.

Another hurdle is data decentralization: Almost half of the firms surveyed store their data in four or more systems, the median being three 

All this affects email marketers more than anyone, for 77% of the respondents apply personalization to email. In comparison, 52% use it on websites, and 31% use it in mobile apps. 

And among those emailers, the majority personalize their messages in the most rudimentary way — to place first names or company names in the message or subject line. Only a fourth personalize promotions or product content for each person.   



Eighty-two percent of firms are at least somewhat satisfied with their personalization efforts., and only 18% are dissatisfied.

Among the benefits of personalization are increased visitor engagement (55%), improved customer experience (55%) and higher conversation rates (51%). Most marketers — 87% — say they get a measurable lift from personalization. And 54% receive a boost of over 10%, while 13% get over 30%.

However/ only 37% say they will increase their personalization budgets this year, and 60% will hold steady. Of the B2C companies, 53% have slotted increases, compared with 25% of the B2B outfits.

Why wouldn't they be cautious? Only 8% rate their firm's capability as advanced, and 52% say it is limited.  In general, dissatisfaction is most pronounced in large businesses — those with sales of $1 billion or more. Of that group, 83% feel that marketers are not getting it right. 

But they're trying: 92% use personalization overall. And 98% say it helps advance customer relationships. 

Where do firms apply personalization? Email, again, is the most widely used channel:

  • Email content — 71% 
  • Home page — 45%
  • Landing pages — 37%
  • Interior pages — 28%
  • Product detail pages — 27% 
  • Blog — 20%

To achieve this, 68% conduct rule-based targeting to segments. And 52% send triggered messages or notifications. But only 26% use machine learning/algorithms on a one-to-one basis. Slightly over half have personnel focused on personalization.

And how do they personalize their email campaigns? The agenda is as follows:

  • First name and/or company name in the message or subject line — 76%
  • Tailored messaging or promotions by audience segment — 52% 
  • Product or content recommendations by audience segment — 51%
  • Email messages personalized at send time — 49%
  • Triggered emails sent based on visitor/user/shopper behaviors — 35% 
  • Product or content recommendations per individual —2 5% 
  • Tailored messaging or promotions per individual — 25%

And the winning metrics? It starts with conversion:

  • Conversion rate — 51%
  • Click-through rate — 49%
  • Revenue — 37%
  • Page views — 32%
  • Time on site — 26%
  • Customer satisfaction rate — 19% 
  • Retention/renewal rate — 19%
  • Profit — 19%

 Evergage and Researchscape surveyed 300 marketers. 

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