Customization, Personalization, and Localization. What’s the Difference?
February 17, 2015
When it comes to email marketing, even the most sophisticated marketers are confused about what they should be focusing on. And who’s to blame them? There’s a lot of confusion around the latest email marketing phrases: Customization, Personalization, and Localization.
If you ask a handful of marketers what these mean, they will probably give you a variety of answers – and that’s okay. The nomenclature is not important, what is important is what each tactic means for your brand. Many companies are executing on one or two of these really well, but are missing out on the full spectrum of email marketing power.
By thinking about your company data in new ways, it’s EASY to execute using all three. And, expanding how you customize email communications is good for your business. For example, emails with personalized subject lines have 26% higher open rates*, and localized email campaigns have 15% higher open rates.**
So, let’s break down the general definitions of each of these email types.
Customization: Customization means targeting the right consumer with the right message. Think of customization as targeting segments of your business with messages particular to that group. For instance, an Insurance company likely sends different marketing messages to their customers that have purchased auto insurance versus life insurance. Customization is a very basic first step to optimizing your email campaigns.
Personalization: Personalization means leveraging recipient-level data to empower the message. Think of personalization as (programmatically) pulling in data about the individual customer or prospect. Some types of personalization data include name, how long it’s been since their last purchase, items they’ve browsed online, or activities performed. For instance, a gym may be offering a free trial membership with a training session, and choose to send an email to each participant asking them how their experience was, inserting the trainer’s name, photo, and even their rates. Personalization requires an up-to-date customer (and prospect) database with as many attributes as you can get.
Localization: Localization is where many companies miss the mark, and is the most difficult of all three, from a preparation standpoint. Localization means right message, right consumer, right time, right place. Think of localization as utilizing real-time data about individual markets to get hyper-specific. Data such as area demographics, weather triggers, and regional preferences can all be layered on top of basic customization and personalization to make an extremely powerful message even stronger.
For example, a national fast food chain can send out email coupons to its database of customers. They choose to send the email to consumers in lower-income demographic areas only, and only to those consumers that have downloaded a coupon in the past. They also decide that in areas where the temperature is above 70°, the coupon will be for a milkshake, and below 50°, it will be for chili fries. All others get a coupon for a hamburger. They may even choose to increase the value of the coupons for specific restaurants that are under-performing.
Once the campaign has run, they decide to continue it by simply setting weather-based triggers that will distribute the emails to the right consumers, in the right areas, at the right time.
By doing this, they are built a scalable revenue-generating engine that needs very little maintenance. And because the email includes a map of the nearest location to that consumer, it’s an extremely personalized experience that drives real traffic and immediate sales.
Localization is the ultimate way to optimize and achieve the highest ROI possible. In fact, these types of triggered emails are estimated to be responsible for over 20% of email marketing revenue.***
Localization by national brands is on the forefront of cutting-edge marketing, but most brands can’t currently pull it off for a couple reasons: data and scalability. This is where cutting-edge local marketing automation steps in to make it easier.
To take the next step and learn how to evaluate your data resources, prioritize efforts, and select a solution for your email localization, view our on-demand webinar where we give you all the steps for localizing emails before your competitors.
*Balihoo Customer Data