Posted On: Mar 13, 2020
Posted By: John Duff
personalized marketing challenges

Personalization is proven to be the prime driver of marketing success in today’s business world. The exciting promise of personalization is spread all over the internet. Marketers overpoweringly claim (18%) that personalization helps advance customer relationships, with 52% agreeing it has a “strong” impact.

Personalization Report by Researchscape International and Evergage

Image Source: 2019 Personalization Report by Researchscape International & Evergage

The advances in technology, data, and analytics are letting marketers personalize their messages on an increasingly granular level. While this approach sounds exciting, most marketers feel underequipped to deliver it because of specific challenges.

In this post, we will debunk those key personalized marketing challenges and the steps to overcome them to stay ahead of the curve.

1. Inaccurate Data Makes Personalization a Challenge

Data plays a crucial role in personalizing your marketing approaches. Unfortunately, the data you have about customers and prospects won’t always be perfect. It may include invalid contact numbers or incorrect details, making personalization a challenge for the businesses. In such cases:

  • You have to clean your database on a regular basis so it can be used effectively. This process involves data audit, data appending, and cleansing techniques.
  • Once cleaned, the data must be recorded in a similar fashion throughout the data pool. For instance, instead of saving a customer’s home state as ‘United States’ and at other times as ‘US’, you can pick any one of it to maintain uniformity.
Customer Name Region Phone Number Email Address
John Rick United States xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx@xxxx
Adam Steve Australia xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx@xxxx
Michelle George Italy xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx@xxxx
Kristian Kell US xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx@xxxx
Mike Jordan France xxxxxxxxx xxxxxx@xxxx


  • Lastly, don’t forget to maintain a single source of customer data for deep personalization. This can be done by assembling various pieces of customer data into a single data lake.

Regarding the single source of data, the Reltio VP of Marketing Ajay Khanna tells CMS Wire, “Connecting and combining the data in all systems and channels helps create a progressively richer profile of the consumer. When you add new systems to your infrastructure or purchase a new data source, connect them to the existing data hub so they can add to and access the consumer information from the same single source of truth.”

2. Offering a Real-Time Personalized Experience

To provide this type of personalized experience, your marketing team needs to be working in real-time. However, with multiple products and different customers (age, region, language, etc.), your organization might find it hard to keep up. In short, real-time personalization is an intimidating concept that challenges many companies.

Two simple ways to get rid of this challenge include:

  • Marketing Automation: This technology uses real-time data such as the customer’s location and their behavior to trigger highly relevant emails. These personalized messages encourage customers to take the next step with no hassle.
  • Browse abandonment campaigns: These campaigns automatically email those visitors who merely browse your website but do not take any action. These emails usually include an offer on a specific product they were browsing, and thereby tempting them to buy it. Take a look at the example given below:

real-time personalized experience

Image Source: Autoplicity

3. Privacy Considerations to Make a Note Of

Although plenty of studies show that consumers appreciate personalized interactions, the recent developments such as #DeleteFacebook sentiment made us clear that consumers are growing uneasy when companies collect their data for this purpose. Began in 2018, this campaign is still making noise all over the internet. Lately, Stephen King, best known for horror fiction, has announced he is quitting Facebook because of privacy concerns.

privacy considerations

Image Source: Twitter

Following this problem, certain regulations on the use of personal data was further tightened. Thanks to the GDPR and CCPA that has taken effect in different parts of the world. These restrictions have made it more complicated for marketers to personalize messages based on certain factors.

In this setting,

  • Businesses must be honest about the usage of the customer’s data.
  • They must limit the degree to which they personalize outreach to the audience.
  • Also, they must immediately remove the customer’s data on request.

This is a small price one has to pay to build consumer trust and also to avoid the severe penalties for failing to comply.

4. Developing Highly Personalized Content

Targeting different personas with personalized content is quite challenging for marketers. Despite personalization being a requisite marketing feature, one-third (33%) of businesses fail to personalize their material at scale, as per Adobe’s new survey. The respondents highlight time as the most significant barrier in doing so.

top barriers for personalized content

Image Source: Marketing Charts

And it’s not surprising to know that time is their primary concern. The same survey revealed that it takes approximately 17 hours to produce personalized short-form content. The marketers have to create content variations for different segments, campaigns, social platforms, etc. And it consumes an average of 12 days to publish a single content targeting each of the variables mentioned above.

You can tackle this issue by reusing the existing content. For example, your website may contain materials related to travel, B2B, technology, finance, eCommerce, and other areas. You can use this content to target a specific industry.

5. Lacking Marketing Skill Set

With a large amount of data available now, marketers can easily segment the target market and provide better personalization to the audience. However, it doesn’t happen in most of the cases as they lack some essential marketing skill. According to Accenture Interactive and Forrester Consulting report, less than half of the marketers update their skills regularly to improve customer insights.

customer experience decision makers worldwide

Image Source: eMarketer

From the latest marketing tactics to emerging automation trends, there is always something new to learn. Therefore, openness to trying new things must be the basic skill set of a marketer. In case your personalization solution doesn’t require tools or coding to execute, you can certainly be of help to your team with your new skill set.

To Sum It Up

It’s true that presenting a personalized experience for a customer is a brilliant goal. However, it requires you to invest some of your precious time. Although some of the challenges specified here could be solved by a one-time purchase of internal development tools, most others require more of a systematic marketing approach to personalize the strategy and enforce measures for structural cohesion.