“Personalized marketing refers to targeting a product or service to an individual customer. It can be achieved only by collecting data and information about a particular customer, or small group of customers, and then creating products and/or advertisements of special interest to that individual.” WiseGeek.com

We know that smartphones are omnipresent in everyone’s lives; consumers are almost always connected to the digital world. But the smartphone is no longer just a device. It’s an extension of the user – it goes where they go and does what they do. Its very presence, and the steady streams of data that stem from specific, personal interactions and transactions conducted on it, enable brands to market in new ways that are hyper personalized for each user – marketing between one individual and one brand.

So while “personalized marketing” is about the marriage of customer data and targeted marketing, in today’s mobile environment, “personalization” has evolved into so much more.

In fact, as mobile marketing enters “The Age of Me,” personalization shifts from broad demographics and targeted audience groups to a paradigm in which individual consumers intentionally share large amounts of personal information with the expectation that marketers will deliver something very personalized in return.

Marketing’s evolution toward personalization
Few strategies in the history of marketing – except perhaps sales reps who went door-to-door to sell their wares – have been as individually focused as the marketing that is being enabled by today’s smartphones and mobile platforms.

The shift to the mobile environment over the last five years has turned the concept of “personalization” into a relationship that’s far more personal, individualized and driven by intent. Indeed, consumers who choose to engage with brands by installing mobile apps and engaging in the mobile environment are making very intentional and personal choices:

  • They are providing detailed information and data about themselves – age, gender, location, time zone, language and more.
  • They are setting personal preferences to make sure brands know what they like and don’t like, what they’re interested in and what they’re not.
  • They are turning on geolocation capabilities to indicate where they are.
  • They reveal to brands their intent and willingness to engage – when, which types of interactions and communications, device, operating system and more.
  • And they allow their devices to tell brands their exact location and device. “This is what I like, here is where I am and this is the device I have. Talk to me.”

Don’t mess it up
To the marketer, smartphone–connected consumers open up a treasure trove of information, indicators and preferences – and they do so with the expectation that the brand will use their data to deliver content and experiences that are highly relevant, valuable and personally satisfying:

  • Leverage the data to communicate personally and contextually
  • Tailor messages and promotions to each consumer, based on all available data at that specific point and location in time
  • Go beyond broad segmentation to understand customers as individuals and market to them personally

If marketers value the personal data that’s being made available to them, they’ll be able to craft messages and offers that are personally valuable in return – which is exactly what their customers want.

The message for marketers? Build and deepen each relationship one at a time, making it as personal as the customer expects it to be.

You have a unique opportunity, so don’t mess it up.