Targeted Marketing: Personalization, Humanization, or Both?

Tracking and recording customer data can personalize marketing and help you craft unique communications based on customer demographic and shopping behavior.  What’s far less understood is that this marketing might be missing the human element it needs to reach new heights.

Collecting data paves the way to offer personalization because it offers insight on customers’ age,  location, gender, and other demographics.

However, using data alone when making marketing decisions is not enough because it relies on statistics rather than the humans themselves.  

If you want to achieve better results,  incorporate humanization in your marketing decisions and efforts.

Why? Humanization helps you identify your customer’s interests, problems, and needs. Further, you can effectively communicate your brand’s message, which they can relate to as humans, because humanizing your brand helps it connect to human emotions, traits and characteristics. 

With it, your brand becomes more memorable: more than just a logo or slogan.

Consider humanizing your brand to bring in more results and, in turn, more customers who become loyal to your business. In other words, personalization plus humanization connect to target customers.

Here’s how it works:

Personalization allows you to use available and specific data to determine how customers will buy your products/services that match their needs and also drive engagement.

Humanization, which requires knowledge on customers’ actions and intentions, also anticipates the reasons for the customer behavior, not just the behavior itself.

“Humanizing Brands: When Brands Seem to Be Like Me, Part of Me, and in a Relationship with Me” researchers Deborah J. Macinnis and Valerie S. Folkes said in a review of a growing body of literature surrounding humanization. They discovered that consumers pay attention to the following characteristics of brands:

  •       Humanized personality, characteristics, minds and forms
  •       Connection to the values it represents
  •       Being analogous to its relationships

Humanizing your effort makes your brand relatable because customers will feel as if they’re connecting to and dealing with family, a friend or a colleague.  

In essence, humanized brands are responsive and offer real value, unlike business-centered brands that convey one-way, self-serving messages.

Four Steps To Humanize Your Brand

Create a persona

Always remember, your customers are humans. Think about ways you’re explaining the value of your business. Is it being portrayed in a way people haven’t seen before? Is it true to the values of the brand and the people it represents?

People remember stories that they can relate to their own lives. Communicating meaningful information means your tone should sound like you’re having a conversation with other people through stories.

Again, personalization and humanization go hand in hand when creating successful campaigns. You can use data to generate content that appeals to human emotions and resonate with your customers.

Speaking of your customers… get to know them!

Collect data and have a clear picture of your audience so that you can interact with them in a more human way.  By identifying your customers, you can create a more humanized marketing approach while not leaving data behind.  

What does this mean for you? It simply targets your ideal customers and potentially increases marketing results (leads, conversions, etc.).

Use targeted advertising

Statistics show that 53% of buyers research when making a buying decision. Use personalized data to create social media campaigns or  targeted ads that will reach customers (local or global, depending on your target market). In your copy, incorporate humanized elements; for example, include the language that your customers are speaking even if it’s different from your native language.

Join your customers’ journey

Tailor your strategies based on customer relationships that constantly evolve and change. Design a personalized strategy that starts in the presale stage. The best way to do this is to think like your customers.

Ask yourself, what experience do my customers want? Walk through the experience you’re offering. Besides data, you’re also adapting your strategies to humanization based on the changing customer expectations and preferences. Adjustment examples include channel preferences and message timing as a response to customer behavior.

Final Thoughts

When creating a campaign or developing a brand image and voice, use both personalization and humanization.  

Data from personalization leads to targeted marketing, while the emotional appeal of humanization makes your efforts more human and memorable because it appeals to all senses.

In Love and Respect,

Hilary Corna

Founder and CEO, Corna Partners



Hilary Corna

Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host, Founder of the Human Way ™...

Hilary’s favorite title is HUMAN.


I am starting a revolution. One business and one person at a time.



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