Is Personalization the Art of Knowing the Customer?

Is Personalization the Art of Knowing the Customer?

I’m only a few weeks into my new role at Monetate and I’ve got a burning question for you: what exactly is this personalization thing, anyhow? No, I’ve not lost my mind, I’m just kind of pointing out the obvious – that the term personalization means different things to different people. And, I’m just beginning to discover just how different the interpretations are.

If you were to ask a busload of marketers that question, I bet you’d see differences in responses from B2B vs. B2C, highly mature digital marketing organizations vs. less mature, low budget vs. the spendthrifts, and the early adopters vs. the pragmatists.  So who is right?  Well, I’d argue that, ultimately, it is the customer.

My friend Adele Revella, who literally wrote the book on buyer personas, has often said that buyers will tell you everything you need to know to be able to successfully market and sell to them – if you let them.  That statement, made over a decade ago, was so prophetic (go Adele!) when you consider today’s world where technology allows us to capture and act upon more information than ever about our customers and their behaviors.  And, like Adele says, if we are willing to listen to what this data tells us, we can better market and sell to them.

Recently here at Monetate, we published our quarterly report, the Ecommerce Quarterly, or EQ, which looks at the millions of transactions that run through Monetate systems and finds insights to help how brands think about personalization.  If you’re a B2C marketer is it a must-read and, while the report is about consumer behavior, it gives some interesting points for B2B marketers to consider and try to figure out about your buyers.

This issue of the EQ examines customer behaviors on the path to purchase and offers some really interesting data about use of different devices during the purchase process.  In fact, the results look a lot like how I buy!  The implications on how marketers do their thing could be profound, the question is: what are marketers going to do about it?

Our CEO, Lucinda Duncalfe, defines personalization as “the ability to interact with every customer, in every moment, through all touch points, with everything that is known about them. Imagine that world!!!!  This concept geeks me out. Like, big time.  So, what do you think?

p.s. Now that I work in the personalization space, I’m beginning to look at the places and ways I buy through a new lens – I am becoming significantly more aware as a consumer – and there is some serious opportunity to delight me there.  I imagine that will become a blog post at some point.

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About the author

SVP of Marketing at Monetate, and veteran B2B marketer. On Twitter @MaribethRoss. Read more at

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