Thought Leadership

Analytics/Data | 4 MIN READ

Using Customer Data to Personalize Marketing Campaigns? Don’t Forget These 3 Things

By Missy Scheuller
Sr Account Manager

It’s no marketing secret that personalizing email is a good strategy to implement if you want to see better engagement metrics – in fact, our research indicates that personalized subject lines can boost email open rates by 50%.1  However, creating engaging emails goes far beyond calling your customer by their first name in the subject line.

For many brands, a customer’s first name is just the tip of the iceberg, and great marketing teams always remember these 3 things when managing complex customer profiles:


1. Make your data shine and always keep it clean

The first step to smart personalization is ensuring your data is accurate. It’s always best practice to employ double opt-in strategies, privacy policy notifications, etc. to ensure you are speaking to customers who want your email and to retain the most up-to-date and clean data for your customers. All email program managers should clean data on a regular basis and run a rigorous testing QA (quality assurance) to confirm that your methods and execution are on point and free of mistakes.


2. Demonstrate understanding, respect, and care for your customer’s privacy

Many brands struggle with balancing privacy concerns, CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and other regulations with their goals for personalization and providing relevant content. Yet, developing a comprehensive personalization strategy doesn’t mean you have to ask your customers for all their personally identifiable information (PII) up front.2  If a customer has engaged with your emails and your products, you’re well on your way to accomplishing personalization techniques that drive results.


3. Take personalization to the next level with creative use of data

Once a customer has opted into a program and been greeted with an email welcome series, the possibilities are endless. If you track website visits with email pixels, why not send an email with reviews on their top-searched products? Or after a customer makes their first few purchases, you could show them how close they are to completing a loyalty or frequent buyer award. Even showing them their status and/or level within your customer categories makes an email so much “stickier” and/or meaningful for a customer. Getting creative with a few key datapoints can really make an impact.

Check out the two examples of simple, yet unique usage of personalization and dynamic content:

David’s Tea 10-year anniversary email

Subject line: You’re the best!

David’s Tea used data points gathered from purchase transactions to create a visually exciting and relevant anniversary email. This email is a perfect example of how purchase data that does not involve PII can be used to create a compelling marketing message.

Personalization callouts:

The intro section celebrates the brand’s 10th anniversary by recounting the customer’s relationship journey using a unique mix of brand voice and creativity to present data on their first purchase date and store location of the first purchase.

The second section is a fantastic example of how to creatively use data to personalize with humor. By pulling the customer’s total purchase weight and comparing it to the number of chipmunks the same weight carries, the brand added some fun to an otherwise mundane data point (75 oz).

The third section is cute, on-brand, and demonstrates a commitment to #relationshipgoals by acknowledging the customer's preferred item. With some pre-delivery data matching, appending, and the right framework set up, the brand identified the customer’s most frequently purchased item and paired that with another representation (in cups of tea) of total purchase weight.

Finally, the last section capitalizes on the most frequently purchased item data to provide a unique product recommendation, elevating a standard email conclusion with a great personal voice and creative use of limited data points.

Starbucks’s loyalty redemption for Rewards members

Subject line: You’ve earned a free drink or food item

Starbucks sends out this triggered message whenever a customer reaches a specific reward level. In this case, the customer has just reached the level equivalent to a free drink or food item.

Personalization callouts:

A single data point, loyalty points earned is used to urge customers to redeem their points via a step-by-step how to message. Since brands now have access to numerous set-it-and-forget-it type of triggered programs, a quick initial set-up and occasional updates to message content can make loyalty-based messages key drivers for repeat purchases from customers. 

Most marketers are aware of the value of using purchase-based data points to drive loyalty programs and repeat-purchases, yet many overlook the potential of using a single data point to drive different types of triggered programs. Outside of using purchase data to inform loyalty programs, the same information can be used to run a number of personalized promotional campaigns, for example a brand can increase in-store visits by running a campaign that keeps track of the number of in-store visits (via transaction receipts) and offering customers a reward for their 5th visit.


Data is giving marketers the power to personalize in more ways than ever. Yet your personalization strategy does not need to be overly complex. A creative or humorous use of a few datapoints (based on accurate data, of course) can delight your customers and power-up your campaigns.






Sr Account Manager

Missy Scheuller

Missy brings over 17 years of digital marketing experience to her role as a Senior Account Manager at Yes Marketing. “The more intricate the data structure, the more fun we’ll have!” is Missy’s motto. She works out of the Portland office and spends the majority of her free time adding to the 150+ live music events she’s been to and trying to figure out the next Pacific Northwest road trip she’ll take.