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SheerID CRO in Forbes: “How to Get Your Customers’ Attention with Personalized Promotions”

Posted on Jul 24, 2019 · 5 min read

Brands have become addicted to short-term performance marketing, but it’s a habit that needs to be broken. The antidote? Exclusive, personalized promotions that demonstrate the commitment a brand is willing to make with a customer group. 

That’s the perspective CRO Fernando Castellanos shared in How to Get Your Customers’ Attention With Personalized Promotions, an article recently published on His view is based on daily conversations with leading brands whose current customer acquisition strategies are falling short. 

Fernando’s perspective is also informed by the success he sees when brands reinvigorate their brand marketing with personalized promotions. His tips for making personal promotions a success are backed up by the latest research—and  real-world experience from SheerID customers.

Performance Marketing is Failing

For years, marketers have dedicated themselves to optimizing ad performance by trying to increase click-throughs. 

For awhile, the intensity of their focus paid off. But as Fernando writes, it essentially ignores the people behind the action. And now that most brands are investing in digital advertising, it’s just made things worse by oversaturating the market.

In a recent customer acquisition survey by WBR Insights, marketers said that differentiation was their greatest challenge , yet they plan to increase spending across all channels. This simply amplifies the noise in the marketplace.

The survey also revealed that three-quarters of retail marketers run either weekly or “continuous” discounts, and nearly 70% believe running more will help increase sales. This is just wishful thinking. What we do know is that frequent promotions lead consumers to expect discounts, which devalues a brand. 

The fallout? Higher customer acquisition costs—a 60% increase in the last five years—and diminishing returns.

Customer acquisition costs have increased 60% in the last five years.

Personalized Promotions Create Long-Term Customers

Fernando believes you can create deeper connections with consumers by turning “emotionless transactions into ones that are more human by rooting them in your buyers’ identities.”

One way to do this is through personalized promotions based on a target segment’s lifestage, career, or affiliation—such as students, teachers, or members of the military.

These personalized promotions, also referred to as gated offers, motivate purchases and facilitate loyalty. According to a consumer study by Kelton Research , 94% of shoppers would take advantage of a gated offer, and 83% said they would increase how often they shop with a brand.

The trick is to align your brand identity with core buyers and create personalized promotions that reflect their interests, needs, and concerns.

Digital marketers across retail, software, subscription, and hospitality industries are increasingly looking to personalized promotions to acquire loyal, high-value customers. Let’s take a look at three examples.

01 Lowe’s Personalized Promotions Spur Military Loyalty

Lowe’s personalized promotion—10% off for the military every day—recognizes that the military community is an ideal segment because members typically own a home and have a penchant for DIY projects. 

The offer shows the brand’s commitment to the military and authentically expresses gratitude for their service to our country.

The program also makes recommendations based on purchase activity and offers free gifts to bring military members into the store.

Lowe’s personalized military promotions saw an engagement rate two to three times higher than other campaigns. The company also doubled in-store visits from military members and tripled email open rates.

Lowe's personalized military promotions saw an engagement rate 2x - 3x higher than other campaigns.

02 Target Wins the Hearts and Minds of Teachers

Teachers’ annual out-of-pocket spend for classroom supplies is a whopping $652. Target shows their commitment to this market segment by honoring teachers with a week-long back-to-school promotion. 

The 15% discount is a smart move: it includes what teachers need (e.g. pens, pencils, hand sanitizer) and what they want (men’s and women’s apparel and accessories.)

A personalized promotion for teachers is highly effective for brands like Target, as it increases:

  • Loyalty. More than 4 in 5 teachers said they’d choose a retailer that offered a teacher discount over one that didn’t.
  • Advocacy. Eighty-four percent of teachers recommend to families, friends, and educators those retailers that offer teacher discounts.
  • Brand awareness. Everyone values teachers, and Target’s personalized promotion has generated tremendous goodwill and national attention.

Jill Sando, Target’s senior vice president and general merchandise manager of apparel, accessories, and home, said there was a “phenomenal response” during the inaugural event in 2018. Teachers saved millions of dollars on classroom supplies. And she’s thrilled to honor teachers again in 2019.

“I’m excited we’re bringing the event back again this year with an expanded assortment of items eligible for the 15% discount, helping teachers save and get what they need for the upcoming school year,” Sando said in a statement to USA Today.

Four in five teachers said they'd choose a retailer that offered a teacher discount over one that didn't.

03 Streaming Media Turns Students into Loyal Subscribers

Nearly every major streaming media company—including Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Pandora, and Comcast—runs a personalized promotion that recognizes students’ unique lifestage. The offers vary, but the strategies consistently:

Personalized Promotions Deliver Results

Personalized promotions are fast becoming a more durable customer acquisition strategy than the short-term wins of performance marketing. It’s an approach that leads to 3x conversions, 2x repeat purchases, and ROI as high as 20:1. 

As Fernando writes in Forbes, personalized promotions exclusively targeted at specific segments “can give your performance marketing staying power with a message that supports your brand’s purpose and helps you acquire loyal customers.”

Join the conversation at the Forbes Business Development Council and follow Fernando as he publishes future articles on leading customer acquisition strategies.

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Tony Coray by Tony Coray