It’s Time to Prioritize Personalization: Today’s Examples

Personalization is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity when it comes to modern marketing strategy. In McKinsey & Company’s 2021 report, it was determined that 70% of consumers now expect personalization. That’s not all, the study shows that they are frustrated if those expectations aren’t met. What this means is that you need to prioritize personalization to stand out to consumers.


This blog will cover various personalization efforts across industries.


Personalized bottles

Unless you live under a very large rock, you’ve heard of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. Back in 2011, the novel personalization idea was brought to life. It launched in Australia before taking the U.S. by storm in 2014. That same year, Coca-Cola sales rose more than 2%, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The campaign gave Coke fans the chance to customize their bottles with a name. The bottle would read: Share a Coke with [Name], printed on the classic red label.


In a genius move, Coca-Cola positioned its CTA at the front and center of the campaign, that being "Share a Coke," yet it doesn't obnoxiously scream "I'm a CTA." In some ways, it hides in plain sight. It's a tagline compelling consumers to buy a Coke to share, but it's also a phrase connecting people. Share a Coke with Grandma, for example, sounds like a heartwarming suggestion, not a marketing ploy.


Today you can still purchase "Share a Coke" bottles. They are often advertised with celebrations in mind, such as weddings and birthday parties. Of course, such celebrations require Coca-Cola to be bought in bulk. I may not be a customer of Coca-Cola, but I'll be taking notes on any future campaigns. You should be too.

Similarly, companies like Personal Wine let you design your own alcohol label so that you can gift a loved one with a bottle that is personal to their taste and their style.


For example, if your best friend’s birthday is coming up and they love wine and dogs, you can craft a dog-themed bottle of wine. You could even name the wine after your friend’s dog. How sweet is that?


JetBlue’s seats say hello

In 2021, JetBlue launched an IFE system that could make repeat flyers movie recommendations based on what they’d previously watched on other flights. Flyers were also addressed by name on their screen so they'd feel welcome as they set off on their journey.

While this is a prime example of personalization in practice, the inclusion of flyers' names was not well-received by all. Some felt it a breach of their privacy, perturbed by the thought of strangers learning their identity.


Privacy concerns are something to consider when launching personalization campaigns, depending on your industry.


Netflix recommends

With a jaw-dropping 220.67 million global subscribers, Netflix is an undeniable beast in the streaming services world. Its popularity is not solely a result of its abundance of movies and binge-worthy TV shows like the worldwide phenomenon Stranger Things, it's thanks to its constantly evolving personalization algorithm.


Ratings are one of the datapoints feeding Netflix's algorithm. Netflix prompts subscribers to rate shows using a thumbs down, a thumbs up, and more recently, two thumbs up. These ratings allow Netflix to make targeted recommendations to improve user experience.


With the help of such data, Netflix can add a "percentage match" to movies and TV shows. For example, I watch a lot of supernatural shows, so if a show about vampires popped up, it would probably sit somewhere in the 90% match zone. With this feature, Netflix assists users in discovering relevant shows they might've missed out on otherwise.


In that same vein, Netflix displays different thumbnails for specific users. Say there's an action movie that involves a relationship. If you're a romance fan, they'll present you with a thumbnail of the love birds, but if you're in it for the action, you might see a thumbnail devoid of love, perhaps showing the protagonist or antagonist with a weapon.



Most of us have our lazy days. Maybe it's a rainy Sunday and you want to stay in on the couch, only exerting yourself for snacks and bathroom breaks, but you don't know what to watch. Instead of browsing for an hour until you're about ready to give up, you can click on Netflix's "play something" button. Based on all of the data Netflix has collected on your preferances, it will put on something worth your while.


Why should consumers give you the time of day if you don't put in the effort needed to enhance their commercial experience like the above examples do?


The bottom line? Prioritize personalization or risk falling behind your competitors.


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