A Look at the Newest Developments in Marketing Personalization


A red brick wall with white lettering on it that reads NEW. New personalization techniques concept


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According to the Salesforce 2020 Trends in Personalization report 97% of marketers reported significantly increasing their personalization efforts in 2020 — and nearly one fourth of marketers achieved a spike in revenue higher than 20% due to personalization. Saleforce added that more than half (52%) of consumers presume all offers or messaging received from brands to be personalized.

The interest in personalization to drive customer experience and sales continues as strong as ever, with marketers seeking to refine their efforts to separate their brands from the competition. Among the newest developments in personalization are:

More Refined Use of Gamification

“One of the newest advancements in the marketers’ personalization toolbox are modern gamification solutions, Christian Selchau-Hansen, Formation.ai founder and CEO. “These platforms combine transactional and non-transactional elements to create an emotional connection and build trust over time, which then increases customer lifetime value for a brand. Brands that leverage gamification see their growth rates increase by 6% to 10%”

Though gamification itself has been around for decades, it has become more refined, offering improved personalization capabilities, according to Selchau-Hansen. When loyalty programs first started using gamification to attract consumers, those programs often tacked on simple game mechanics, like badges or cartoonish elements designed to feel like a video game that were handed out for every single task done. These early programs rarely had a direct impact on business success, because the badges didn’t convey any status or provide any meaningful value, so they didn’t build a relationship with customers.

“Modern gamification, on the other hand, leverages customer data insights and creates experiences with multiple steps all connected to driving value for the customer and business outcomes for the brand, Selchau-Hansen said. “These experiences are designed to evolve customers from a tentative introduction to the brand into a lifetime relationship with it, because they give customers clear actions for how to better engage and provide clear guidance on the value and benefits a customer will receive for each action.

Related Article: What Do We Mean by Personalization?

Use of Dynamic Search Results

“The next big trend we’ll see in personalization is making search results as dynamic as possible, across channels,” said Peter Messana, CEO of Searchspring. “Shoppers are constantly on a journey of discovery, and their preferences change all the time.” For example, if a merchant sends an email to a shopper that contains personalized product recommendations, the code behind the email doesn’t fire off that recommendation just yet — that takes place the moment the shopper opens the email, Messana explained.

So, if the merchant sends an email on a Friday but the shopper makes a purchase the following Monday, before opening the email on Tuesday, that latest shopping trip will be considered, informing the recommendation more precisely. These dynamic recommendations are much more accurate than static recommendations driven by business rules or aggregate data.

Related Article: 5 Drivers of Personalized Experiences: A Walk Through the AI Food Chain

Data Privacy and a World Without Third Party Cookies

The customer data you collect and store to enable a personalized experience may be limited by current regulations or those coming soon. “There are a number of areas for e-tailers to consider in order to stay compliant with GDPR and similar legislation,” cautioned Mikael Ekelund, Avensia senior commerce advisor. “GDPR in Europe was just the starting point. There will be new or changing regulations in the future.” 

On the other hand, consumers in general want a more personalized shopping experience and offerings relevant to them so there is an opportunity to gain customer approval to use their data if you can prove the value of this consent. Depending on where a company operates, there can be different regional or local regulations on how customer data may be collected, processed, and stored as well as how customers need to be informed about privacy policies. It is critical to stay informed and get proper advice for each geography a company targets.”

The data marketers use for their personalization and targeting campaigns will also come under scrutiny this year, said Tracey Ryan O’ Connor, Coveo commerce group vice president. “Google made major waves when it announced that it would be eliminating cookies, which track users across the web, and devices, producing third-party data which is used to target consumers. In 2022, the marketers who depend on third-party data, from cookies and other sources, will need to consider and prepare for the inevitable death of the cookie.”

The brands that prioritize first-party data sources from customer journey data, CRM platforms, POS systems, retail apps, affiliate marketing programs, etc. will be well-positioned, O’Connor added. “For the brands that use a mix of first-party and third-party data, they will face a myriad of challenges as they lose access to cookie data. The bottom line: brands will realize just how important it is to own their customers.”

Related Article: Personalize at Scale With Modular Content

Investment in In-House Data Skills

Due to the upcoming death of the cookie, an increasing number of CMOs are investing aggressively in building out their own data capabilities, investing in technology and teams who can help gather, organize and use data for advertising and marketing, according to Jivox CEO Diaz.

“Any kind of data you collect from a consumer or use for personalization will have to have consent Nesamoney added. “First and foremost, the collection of the data, the storage of the data and how data is used all have to be very secure. This ensures trust is not broken — where the consumer is providing the brand with data to use for personalization. It’s the brand’s responsibility to use the data exactly and only for that purpose and to safeguard it from falling into the wrong hands.”



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