Personalisation in marketing. Does it really work?

6 years ago

Post by Sarah Woods. Sarah has over 5 years’ experience in marketing and is extremely passionate about customer acquisition.  In her spare time Sarah enjoys dining out with friends and family.

Sarah Woods, Marketing Campaign ManagerHaving worked in marketing for some time now, I’ve always been keen to test personalisation within direct mail and emails.  The marketing agencies that I’ve worked with have always been advocates of personalisation and its success but I wasn’t convinced.

With so many marketing messages out there, would the use of personalisation really make that much difference, or do we just switch off to the noise around us?

I’ve received a few pieces of direct mail through the post and I have to admit, it did get my attention! So, it was time to put personalisation to the test and try it out for myself.


The test

As a team we decided to run a direct mail campaign with two pots of data. One pot received a generic mailer and the other pot was personalised.  For the personalised version we mentioned the product they’d shown an interest in and also when they’d contacted us. We used unique URLs, landing pages and phone numbers so that we could easily measure response.

Personalised vs Generic

Personalised message

The personalised mailer







The Generic Mailer


The generic mailer







The creative for the generic mailer was the same as the personalised version apart from having the generic message.  The mailers went out at exactly the same time and we measured results over a two week period.

So does it work?

The simple answer is yes it does! Based on the landing pages alone, personalisation had four times more visits than generic.  The personalised version of the mailer also converted at 0.04% greater than the generic version.

What does this tell us?

We can see that talking to an audience when we know what they are interested and speaking to them on a first name basis increases engagement by 4 times which is  greater than going out with a mass mailer.  It is also important to learn that you are far better looking at niche pots of data rather than quantity.  There is always a discussion of quality vs quantity, in terms of testing data, it’s quality every time!

One thing that I would note, if you are going to test personalisation with your current data, ensure the data is clean and accurate.  There is nothing worse than getting it wrong which can destroy your relationship with a loyal customer.

What are your thoughts / experience of running personalised campaigns? Does it work well for your own business?

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