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The Psychology Behind Why Personalized Marketing Works

The Psychology Behind Why Personalized Marketing Works

As a babe in your mother’s arms, one of the first sounds you heard was her voice softly repeating your name. That sound is so deeply embedded in your psyche that, according to researchers, brain activity increases whenever you hear your name called or see it in writing. 

Recognition. Familiarity. Like the theme song from Cheers, you want to go “where everybody knows your name.” 

Skim any reputable marketing blog and you’ll see the term personalization. It means interacting with customers as individuals who have unique habits and preferences. To reach this benchmark, businesses gather data and analyze people’s likes and dislikes. Then, they tailor communications accordingly. And it works. Personalized marketing done right enhances the overall customer experience. Because it makes people feel recognized. And higher levels of customer satisfaction lead to what all businesses want — word of mouth recommendations

Freshman Psych 101

Ever heard of Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs?” It’s a concept usually depicted as a pyramid, with humans’ most basic needs at the bottom and the loftier aspirations ascending toward the top. According to the pyramid, our fundamental needs are physical (air, food, water, safety, stability, etc.). But a step above those sit our psychological needs—love, sense of belonging, and esteem. As soon as we’re fed and warm, we crave friendship, trust, acceptance. Essentially, we need other people. And we need them to like and respect us. 

If you accept Maslow’s theories that humans are hard-wired for meaningful socialization, you see how successful marketing should play into that. Keep people’s brains and hearts happy, and they will follow your brand. 

Name Calling (the Nice Way)

Let’s continue to unpack this idea of using customers’ names. Along with softening the message, using high-level personalization cuts through the noise. Everyone knows the marketplace is densely packed with content. With mobile devices handier than ever, our daily ad exposure continues to climb. We’ve got ads in our soxes along with the foxes. Individualized copy helps your message stand out…like screaming someone’s name in a crowded room.

Tips for Embracing Personalization

You know you need to treat people like individuals, but getting there takes planning:

  • Source and Identify – The first task involves getting to know your customers. Sourcing data and identifying buying habits and preferences (on your website and social media pages) helps you understand the choices they’re likely to make in the future. Many companies mine CRM data for cues and clues. What are your customers’ purchasing patterns? Can you find opportunities to make recommendations? 
  • Stay in Touch – Follow-up communications often lead to other purchases, and you can reach out for many reasons. Let folks know about an upcoming sale or updated care agreement. Send a personal card to thank them for a purchase or a birthday card with a freebie. It always helps to say hello for positive reasons, not just when something goes wrong.
  • Meet on Their Terms – Customers receive messages in a number of ways. The key question remains, what is the best way to reach them? Do they prefer email? Text? Social media? When you learn, respect, and respond to people’s natural inclinations, you have a much better chance of keeping their business. 
  • Use a Marketing Mix – Although many interactions are digital, don’t forget that highly personalized direct mail campaigns have an impressive return on investment. Not only is print marketing still a thing, but it’s facing a resurgence. When you interact with customers on multiple fronts, you make their experience more streamlined and fundamentally, more positive. 
  • Lean on Technology – Trying to (frequently) reach every customer on a personal level = a time/energy suck of epic proportions. Luckily, modern technology lends a hand (think marketing automation). Find it. Use it. Never look back. 

The Bottom Line

As a marketer, understanding human psychology will help your messages hit their targets. We are a social species. We want to feel like part of a group, but we also long to be embraced as unique individuals. Casually address a crowd, and we hesitate. But call us by name, with authority and purpose, and our ears perk up.

In short, when you embrace personalized marketing (and the cool tech that makes it possible), you allow your business to communicate in a way that resonates, leading to increased brand awareness, more sales, and ultimately a more attractive bottom line.

If you want to further humanize your marketing strategy and need a guiding hand, Xpressdocs offers cutting-edge software and collateral for some of the world’s top brands. To see what we do and how we do it, head to our website and connect today!

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