At a cocktail party, you’re sure to participate in several conversations. You’ll tune in and out, remembering little (if any) from most, but then someone says something that actually interests you, and that conversation will receive your full attention. Good marketing is no different – prospects will listen to you if you talk about what they care about.

Appealing to your customers’ and potential customers’ interests is easier than it’s ever been, thanks to smartphones and better access to personal data (interests, name, location). With this information, marketers can create promotions for the segment-of-one, and automate it in relatively easy ways. This type of targeting better offers the consumer products, in the perfect place (think of GPS-enabled smartphones), at the perfect time.

The Cocktail Party Effect

Going back to the cocktail party effect, it’s important to remember that consumers are always practicing selective hearing, particularly in our current media landscape. With all the messages a person faces on a daily basis, most will be filtered out. Consumers will choose when they want to listen; it’s up to your company to grab their attention, rather than simply forcing your message onto them. Personalization is a great way to accomplish this, similar to the perfect guest at a cocktail party. We compare the two below.


Ideal party guest: Makes it a point to listen in order to understand the person he or she is talking to.

Personalized marketer: Uses personal data of a current customer or prospect to understand demographics, needs, and interests.

Ask Questions.

Ideal party guest: Asks questions to fill in the gaps.

Personalized marketer: Uses landing pages to ask questions. These questions can be as simple as contact information, to more narrow, like their business needs or company budget.

Remember Names.

Ideal party guest: Remembers the person’s name and uses it throughout the conversation and in any future conversations.

Personalized marketer: Keeps track of the person’s name and drops it in any communication possible.

Remember their Interests.

Ideal party guest: Based on what the other person discusses, the ideal party guest will bring up conversation topics relevant to the other guest’s interests.

Personalized marketer: Based on the information the consumer provides, the marketer will send offers, resources, and entertainment relevant to the consumer’s interests.

Follow Up.

Ideal party guest: Follows up after the party with a personal letter, thank you note, or phone call.

Personalized marketing: Follows up after a conversion, including landing page fill-outs and purchases, with a personalized email, phone call, or some other form of communication.

Benefits of Marketing Etiquette

Practicing this cocktail party etiquette is sure to woo your prospects. The resulting effect?

  • You’ll have their attention. When you play on the prospect’s interest, they’ll give their attention to you, rather than tuning you out.
  • You’ll be memorable. Consumers will remember you and, importantly, keep you in mind when they make purchase decisions later on.
  • You’ll leave a good impression. First impressions are everything; properly listening, responding, and following up, are all ways to be remembered in a good way.

Show your interest in your audience and they’ll show their interest in you. To learn more about the stats and how-to’s of personalized marketing, check out Why You Should Use Personalized Marketing – And How to Implement It.