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Every year, the holidays sneak upon us. We go from putting away our summer décor, to putting up the Christmas tree, in what can seem like just a blink. This fast consumer shift wouldn’t be possible without the actual designers, developers, and marketers that make it happen.

These marketers and small businesses are working diligently to stand out from the crowd with their digital advertising. And as you probably know, it’s certainly not easy. Every business or brand wants to get in on the holiday consumer excitement. It’s a cash cow if the right message, with the right imagery, is sent out at the right time.

So, what is the secret holiday sauce?
How can you stand out against millions of brands?

The Proof in Personalization

In recent years, personalization has proven to be a winning strategy when done right, of course, and why wouldn’t it be? With Americans seeing more than 5,000 ads each day, finding a way to speak directly to your customer in words, images, and phrases they identify with has become essential to brand recognition and increased revenue.

So, what exactly is personalization when it comes to digital advertising? Well, Instapage, says, “Advertising personalization uses data points — insights into who a customer is — to increase an ad’s relevancy.” That means, using things like demographics, likes, and dislikes, gender, behaviors, and attitudes to develop ads that speak to a specific group of people – ultimately the group that will be your customer.

That’s right, “one-size-fits-all” ads need not apply.

How does a marketer or a small business find these insights about their customer? The answer is simple. Research.

The holiday season brings about a different set of attitudes, affinities, and feelings than any other time of the year and marketers would be remiss if they didn’t recognize this. People are more willing to buy presents, go above and beyond for the extra item at the grocery store for an office party, and stay up late into the night making sure it all comes together perfectly. There’s an infectious sense of excitement during the holidays that just can’t be denied.

By crafting and deploying surveys, you can begin to shape who your target customer is and how best to speak to them. Asking questions regarding how one feels about a certain brand, or what they like best about the holiday season, can provide you with information that will allow you to speak to potential customers with specialized intimacy. You will be suggesting gifts, products, and services to them that they might not have even considered in the first place. You will be speaking to their minds, hearts, and souls.

Once you have the data about how your potential customer feels, behaves, and thinks, you can begin to create digital advertisements that will cut through the clutter. And that’s not all. Personalization of ads can also help to build strong relationships with your customer.

A recent Marketing Week article shows, from findings in a report by Evergage and Researchscape International, that 70% of marketing professionals claim that personalization has a “strong” or “extremely strong” impact on cultivating customer relationships. That’s a huge claim!

The problem? 68% of those same marketing professionals feel they aren’t getting personalization right. Which also means they are likely missing out on a majority of online shoppers, including the 70% of people who plan to shop on their mobile phones this holiday season.

It’s a huge step in understanding how important personalized marketing is today, but it’s another step to actually deploy it correctly.

How can you make the switch? Here are a few parting tips to help you dive deep into personalized marketing:

  • Hyper Target Ads: Gone are the days when you needed to run just one ad to an entire segment of people. Now you can make tiny adjustments per segmented audience, taking into account age, socioeconomic status, and purchasing history.

  • Emotional Imagery: No one wants to look at the same stock photos anymore. We’ve all seen them. That’s why your ads and marketing should center around emotional, original, and empathetic content. It should be imagery that moves you.

  • Study Your Data: Social media sites are abounding in free data that they offer you with just a single click. Start to embrace the numbers – they will tell you everything you need to know. And, you don’t need to pay for it!

  • Map Your Content: Just throwing personalized content at the wall won’t get you anywhere. There needs to be a story, some kind of map that makes sense to your consumers. Random marketing is less effective than purposeful, emotional marketing.

  • Know Your Customer: Lastly, there’s the KYC rule. Take time to get to know your customer. Who are they? Where do they live? What do they want to buy, and why? Really go over this person, over and over again, because their sentiments may change with new market releases.

My team and I conduct constant research to ensure we’re developing and deploying the latest and greatest advertising experiences for our clients. Are you ready to personalize your ads this holiday season? It starts with a willingness to dive deep and familiarize yourself with the person on the other end of the smartphone. New candidates, customers, and consumers are waiting to connect with you!