What is the Difference Between Personalization and Customization in Business?

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Created June 19, 2020

If you have ever searched for tips on how to make your marketing campaigns more relevant, you have probably come across terms like “personalization” and “customization.”

In the digital marketing landscape, there is a lot of buzz created about these two practices. And, this is not surprising at all, given that providing targeted customer experiences lets you gain a competitive advantage and maximize brand loyalty.

Still, while “personalization” and “customization” are often used interchangeably, they are not exactly the same. They have a distinctive purpose and rely on different methodologies.

So, what’s the difference?


What is Personalization?

Using personalization in digital marketing means collecting and analyzing customer data to increase the relevancy of your online content. Now, there are many ways to use personalization in digital marketing.


Provide content recommendations

Many brands, including Amazon, analyze customers’ previous purchases and website behaviors to understand what kind of products they are interested in. Based on this data, they recommend similar or related products to cross-sell and upsell faster.

Alternatively, you could add the “You May Also Like” section on your blog, where you would recommend blog posts similar to the one a user is reading. This will improve your click-through rates and enhance people’s engagement and interactions with your website.


Humanize your domain name

A domain name is the first thing a user sees on Google. To grab users’ attention in the competitive SERPs, it needs to be authentic and memorable.

Apart from choosing a domain name, you should also pay attention to your domain extension. Choose the one that builds trust with your audiences and inspires them to take action. Apart from .com, there are many creative ccTLDs to use.

Many solopreneurs, bloggers, and freelancers usually combine their personal names with .ME to build a personal brand and emphasize they are persons and not companies. Businesses, on the other hand, can use this extension to create a persuasive call to action, as in Join.me or Cook.me.

Personalize your app based on customer data

This way, you will provide customers with more relevant content, data, and offers. For example, apps like Foursquare use people’s location and check-in history to recommend the right places for them to visit. Netflix, on the other hand, creates push notifications to let users know their favorite shows are available.


Improve customer support

Tech-savvy customers shop using multiple channels and devices. They may find your product online and then decide to call your customer support center to learn more about your shipping practices.

No matter if they use phone calls, social networks, or IM apps to chat with your brand, you need to provide seamless, multi-channel customer support and offer immediate feedback. That is the idea behind omnichannel customer support that prioritizes customer experiences across all online and offline channels. It delivers seamless customer-brand communication and a connected shopping journey.

To take your customer service and marketing to the next level, you should also analyze customer data. When collected and analyzed regularly, the customer data you collect may also help you personalize your marketing efforts in the future.

For example, you could analyze users’ interactions with your brand via chatbots or live chat. Use social media monitoring tools to track brand mentions and measure brand sentiment. Analyze your social media and website analytics to see what content engages your audiences and inspires them to take action.

While tracking customer data online is easy, you should not neglect the power of your call center. Invest in a reliable VoIP phone service for business that integrates with your CRM software and offers advanced analytics options that will help you measure brand sentiment and understand customers’ needs.

Segment email lists

By segmenting your email database, you will send more relevant offers and messages to different audience segments. For example, you could segment your lists based on their geolocation, age, gender, purchasing history, education, product preferences, purchasing stage, etc.


What is Customization?

Customization lets users make changes to your digital channels to get more relevant content and offers.

Customization is immensely important to digital marketers since it allows online users to control what they will see. This way, you will engage your target audience and convert them into leads and sales faster.

Here is how to inject customization into your marketing:


Providing customized content

Ask users to customize your website’s interface to choose what they will see. For example, the BBC lets users add topics they are interested in to create personalized news feeds. Netflix does the same. Once you register, the platform will ask you to select your favorite shows. Based on your choices, Netflix will customize your account and start displaying related content.


Customizing social media feeds

Social networks customize user experiences in multiple ways.

On Facebook, users can choose what kind of content they would like to see first in their news feeds. They can even choose to get notified when certain people or pages post new content.

Another example of personalization is display ads. On Facebook, for example, users can hide ads they do not like. To provide more relevant user experiences, the social network asks users for feedback to learn the reason why they hid the ad. Next, a user is asked to set ad preferences to start receiving more relevant content.


Using chatbots and quizzes

Apart from providing real-time feedback and enhancing customer support, chatbots also build stronger relationships with customers. For example, Lyft lets users request a ride via their chatbot on Messenger, Slack, or Amazon Echo. Sephora’s bot, on the other hand, allows customers to upload their photos and leverage AI technologies to try different makeup products online.

Quizzes are also an interactive content format, driving customer engagement and personalization. All you need to do is create a quiz that will intrigue your customers. By asking them the right questions about their needs, problems, or preferences, you can generate more leads, maximize sales, and increase social media shares.


Over to You

While personalization and customization are two separate terms, you do not need to decide between them. Instead, try to get the best of both worlds. When combined strategically, they can help you maximize user experiences, boost conversions, and inspire brand loyalty.

Remember that, when it comes to implementing personalization and customization into your marketing efforts, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, you should audit your campaigns to see what aspects can be improved to deliver better user experiences.

Jolene Rutherford

Jolene Rutherford is a marketing specialist – turned blogger, currently writing for technivorz.com. Interested in digital marketing and new technology trends. Love sharing content that can help and inform people.


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