Dear #NAME# – why relevance cannot be overshadowed by personalisation

9 August 2019

Dear #NAME# – why relevance cannot be overshadowed by personalisation

If you have to choose between a personalised message and a relevant one, always go for the relevant one. Fredrik Fenberg tells us why – and how!


A lot of us take it as a given that all communication and marketing must be relevant to the recipient. Nevertheless, almost every day I experience a greater focus on the personalisation of messages than their relevance.

Personalisation is a marketing ploy that builds identification and gets the recipient’s attention, and it is one which you should certainly not forget to use. For example, if you mention the recipient’s name in the subject field, it increases your email opening rate.

However, if in your efforts to make your message personal you forget to make it relevant as well, you forget what consumers are actually looking for. Because basically, I don’t care whether you mention my name or not. It doesn’t make the advertisement more valuable to me.

In contrast, if you choose the right message, the one that speaks to me, there’s a far greater chance that I will respond.

Relevance starts with the message

So, relevance is about the actual message more than anything – about the content of the message being relevant – and not whether you work my first name or company name into the sentence. Because if it isn’t relevant, it does not matter.

I dare suggest that consumers are not tired of advertising, as long as it is relevant and adds value. Anyway, that’s how I feel. For example, I’d like to know when there’s a sale in my favourite shop. This isn’t something I check every day, but I’d like to have the information provided to me. And that’s regardless of whether you write “Hi Fredrik!” or not.

Use your data and get relevant

Of course, data is the obvious source of personalisation – but your data is actually what you should go to for relevance as well.

You see, relevance is created by the collection of data and its translation into knowledge about each customer. Relevance only exists when you write that the very three products I usually buy are on sale. And when you make sure you send this relevant message via a channel which I often use.

Email is often held up as an example of how to create relevance, as there are so many options for making email data-driven. But creating relevance through data is not just limited to email. Why not do it in your shop, where we are so very close to the purchasing situation?

Want to know more?

So, in addition to making the message relevant on the basis of data, it’s also about choosing the right channel. I wrote a whole post on this here on the blog. The medium and the message are linked, and both must be as relevant as you can make them.

It’s very simple, really: When the advertisement is relevant to your audience, it is also relevant to you and your business. If you want my input on how you can become more relevant to your customers, my number is right there on the right.

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