“Personalized” Marketing Is Not Personal Marketing

Last Updated May 20th, 2016

“Personalized” marketing is not personal marketing.

Semantics? Sure! Are they both useful? Absolutely!

But personalized and personal are not the same. Here’s why – and how to benefit from both.


Personal Marketing vs Personalized Marketing


Watch the video above to for examples of personalized and personal marketing.

The difference applies equally to email, messaging, and communication in general. Though the line is often blurred, it’s a helpful to recognize it.

As with so many opportunities, your ability to personalize and to get personal are both a benefit to you. Think: “with” not “instead of” when considering both approaches.

And BombBomb helps you with both. Read on to learn how.

Personalized vs Personal
personalized email, personalized message, personal marketing, personalized
Friendly Robot by Robin Zebrowski, CC BY 2.0 | Grace #40 of 100 Strangers by web4camguy, CC BY-SA 2.0


Personalized Marketing

When you think “Personalized,” think: words and content swapped in by mail merge or variable data. Think: automatic sends based on trigger events.

When you receive a mass email with your first name in the subject line or in the email body? Personalized. Note: this tactic lifts email open rates.

When you receive a mass email based explicitly on your past behavior or expressed interests? Personalized.

When Netflix sends you an email about the release of season 4 of a show of which you binge-watched the first 3 seasons a few months back? Personalized.


From simple data like first name or city name to more complex data or triggered events like topics browsed, shopping cart items abandoned, or website pages visited, a personalized piece slugs things in based on what the database “knows.”

Click here for a story on personalized marketing through big data from the Content Marketing Institute.

Tools in BombBomb to serve “personalized” include:

  • Ability to make as many lists as you want around any theme you want (more)
  • Ability to segment new lists based on email actions or non-actions (more)
  • Ability to create custom fields for form fills and list uploads (more)
  • Ability to add variable data into subject lines and email bodies (more)
  • Ability to send emails and video emails to one or more specific lists
  • Ability to move from personalized to personal based on live, real-time alerts (more)

“Personalized” doesn’t necessarily mean mass. You could create one video email for a specific circumstance that occurs over an over – like a new website lead or a client going under contract. The video is the same. The subject line and email body are the same (with, perhaps, variable data slugs). The send could be manually triggered or automatically triggered through a BombBomb form fill or one of our integrations.

One-to-one. But personalized, not personal.

Personalized vs Personal
personalized email, personalized message, personal marketing, personalized, smile, face
Robot by Robin Zebrowski, CC BY 2.0 | Untitled by WonHo Sung, CC0 1.0


Personal Marketing

When you think “Personal,” think: empathy, sincerity, and connection.

Think: Human to human.

The gift basket with the handwritten note? Personal.

A text message checking in on the status of a project? Personal.

The one-to-one video email following up on your meeting? Personal.


Personal involves direct connection based on relationship. Is it fed in part by database knowledge, analytics, or notifications? Sure. But the touch is personal.

Personal, one-to-one videos are one of the best and highest uses of BombBomb.

See personal examples:

Personal does not have to be one-to-one. But it should be one-to-highly-segmented. A very specific message for very specific people for a very specific reason.

Personalized vs Personal
personalized email, personalized message, personal marketing, personalized, variable data, mail merge
Robot by Robin Zebrowski, CC BY 2.0 | Posing Politely by Brian, CC BY 2.0


[BONUS CLIP] Click here for a short, valuable take on quality over quantity, deep over wide, and who over how many.


Personal and Personalized: Different, But Not Separate

As mentioned, both personal and personalized approaches are valuable. They each have their uses and benefits.

The degree of divide that exists now won’t always exist. The line is already blurring.

Improved online tracking, smart automation, machine learning, and other developments will increasingly get the right message to the right person at the right time. Segmentation down to the individual level. A holy grail, of sorts.

Qualifier: the human element of personal marketing will be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to duplicate or replicate.


Send Personal and Personalized Videos – Free

Click here to start your 2 week free trial of BombBomb. Record, send, and track the results of one-to-one, one-to-many, and one-to-all video emails.

No credit card required. Unlimited videos and emails to up to 50 people during your trial.

Give it a go.



Ethan Beute | About The Author

Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, host of The Customer Experience Podcast, and Wall Street Journal bestselling co-author of Human-Centered Communication and Rehumanize Your Business, Ethan Beute collects and tells stories of clearer communication, human connection, and higher conversion through simple, personal video messages. BA: University of Michigan. MBA: University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

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