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Personalised marketing: Definition, challenges and how to get started

What is personalised marketing? 

Personalised marketing is the act of tailoring marketing messages and campaigns to customer preferences, behaviour and purchasing history. It involves capturing data from analytics, surveys and other sources to create a unique view of each customer, and using that information to personalise messaging. 

Why is personalised marketing important?

Everyone wants to feel special, and that’s precisely what personalised marketing does. It makes each customer feel like you’re talking directly to them. Customers want personalisation – 80% say that they’re more likely to purchase from a brand that offers a personalised experience.

Personalised marketing can also reduce customer acquisition costs by giving potential customers the right information at the right time. It can also help to secure customer loyalty through consistently providing tailored experiences with the brand. 

What can you do with personalised marketing? 

Improve the customer experience

Personalised marketing shows you understand the needs of each customer. Instead of feeling like they’re just transacting with you, customers feel like they’re building a relationship with a brand, which ultimately increases their loyalty to your business. 

Personalisation is also helpful for maintaining omni-channel consistency. When a customer is switching between email, social, mobile and other channels, personalised marketing can provide consistency by targeting a customer’s preferences on whichever platform they prefer to use. 

Foster brand loyalty

Do you know what share of your revenue comes from repeat customers? Usually, it’s a sizeable amount. That’s why retention is as important as customer acquisition. With personalised marketing, you can create enjoyable customer experiences that keep your buyers coming back for more.

Drive higher ROI

When you invest in traditional advertising, like billboard campaigns or TV commercials, you spend a lot of money and cast a wide net. While those strategies can increase your reach, they may not help you connect with the right people.   

Personalised marketing, like digital ads based on a person’s browsing behaviour, can drive better results. According to McKinsey, personalised marketing can increase sales by at least 10% and deliver up to x8 the ROI of other marketing efforts. 

What are the challenges of personalised marketing?

Gathering data

You need data before you can personalise, but that comes with its own set of challenges. There’s a fine line between showing customers you care and being intrusive. To walk the right side of the line, make sure you only use the information they’ve consented to share when you’re creating personalised experiences. 

Managing data

Bad data management can lead to duplicate contacts and an incomplete view of your customers. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform ensures cohesion between the marketing and sales teams and lets you merge duplicate records, validate customer data and track every customer interaction. 

Allocating resources

Just like most other marketing strategies, a successful personalised marketing campaign needs time and resources. However, you don’t have to do it all manually. Once you figure out what data you want to collect and how to collect it, you can automate the data collection process and save a lot of time. We’ll talk more about that in the next section!

How do you start personalised marketing? 

1. Collect data


Surveys are a great way to get information directly from customers, and they’re useful for different types of industries. For example, ecommerce businesses often use automated surveys to gauge customer sentiment about purchases, whereas SaaS providers may use in-app surveys to get real-time customer feedback about a specific feature. 


Encourage customers to share key information when they sign up for your newsletter or email list. At a bare minimum, you can ask for their name and email address, but you can expand that to include their job title and what topics they’re interested in. 

If your software allows it, let customers dictate how often they want to hear from you. Some may want to read every email you send, while others may only want to know about sales and new products. 


When a customer places an order, they usually need to provide their full name, phone number and delivery address. This type of data tells you where (literally) your customers are, which can be useful for creating hyper-local marketing content.  

Transaction history

Past transactions and purchasing cadence data can help you personalise product recommendations and schedule promotions for when a customer is most likely ready to purchase again. 

Website behaviour tracking

Review your website analytics to see which pages people visited, what products they considered and the journey they took through your site. This information can help you create personalised offers for products, and it may show you any friction points in the customer journey. For example, if people are routinely adding items to their cart but not completing their purchase, you might need to optimise the checkout experience or expand your payment options.  

Social media

Social media data is low-cost and high-value. It can provide a detailed insight into the types of content your audience engages with. Additionally you can use it to collate user-generated content, respond to customer enquiries and ask for reviews. 

Referral source

Ask customers how they found out about you. This is a common question to ask customers who subscribe to your newsletter, buy a product, or get in touch with your team. It highlights which marketing strategies are working and helps you understand what’s driving traffic to your site. 

2. Segment customers

Not all customers are interested in the same products or have the same needs, which can make it tricky to deliver personalised messages at scale. However, you can segment customers based on key information, like their location, job title, interests, spending habits and browsing history

For example, a brand selling frozen bags of fruit might have two audiences: health-conscious consumers who love smoothies, and busy parents who want to serve healthy meals to their kids. By segmenting customers into these two groups, the brand can deliver relevant marketing and promotions to each. 

3. Create a campaign

Instagram? Email? Your website? There are several ways you can deliver personalised marketing campaigns, including emails, ad targeting and loyalty programmes. Choose a goal, then focus on how you’ll use personalisation to achieve it. 

For example, if your goal is to increase email open rates by 5%, you might try personalising subject lines for just one of your customer segments and monitoring all open rates over a defined period. If the personalised subject lines correspond with higher open rates, you’ll be able to see the value of personalisation very clearly. 

Use your CRM for marketing personalisation

As your business grows and scales, the benefits of CRM software and the value of marketing personalisation become extremely clear. However, when your CRM is integrated into your broader business management platform, you can get even better results for your business.

MYOB is a business management platform that addresses the six core workflows that any business may need to handle: customers, suppliers, projects, employees, finance, accounting and tax. Cloud based, you only pay for the software you need, but can add on capabilities across all workflows as your business matures and your needs become more complex.

And as an open platform, you can also add on a range of third-party integrations to get the tech stack that you're looking for. At MYOB, we have you covered.

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature and does not consider your personal situation. It does not constitute legal, financial, or other professional advice and should not be relied upon as a statement of law, policy or advice. You should consider whether this information is appropriate to your needs and, if necessary, seek independent advice. This information is only accurate at the time of publication. Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the information contained on this webpage, MYOB disclaims, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for the information contained on this webpage or any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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