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Customization vs. Personalization: What's the Difference?

StudentBridge Staff |Jun 14, 2021

As a university, you are always trying to differentiate your school and also recognize that each prospective student is unique. To achieve both goals you need to integrate customized and personalized content experiences into your school’s website. But, what exactly does this entail?

The terms customization and personalization are often incorrectly used interchangeably; they actually represent two different marketing concepts. It gets confusing since both approaches focus on tailoring content to improve the prospective student experience. However, from there, they diverge quite significantly.

Customization in Marketing

When we discuss customization, we are talking about your unique brand and how you can reflect your mission, vision, and values throughout your content. This means consistently presenting and differentiating your school through all of your digital marketing initiatives.

You want to ensure that your virtual campus experience integrates your recognizable brand elements, including your logo, fonts, colors and tone of voice. The interactive experience should seamlessly connect to your main website and other marketing communications. Aim to establish a virtual campus experience that doesn’t look like every other online campus tour but truly integrates and showcases the best of what your school offers.

Personalization in Marketing

Personalization creates a unique experience for each person accessing your virtual college tour. This means changing up content, verbiage, images, playlists, and recommendations to reflect their interests. Over time, as you gather more data and track their behavior, you can present even more relevant content and recommendations based on what you have learned about each virtual visitor.

Improving the User Experience

User experience refers to the feelings generated in your prospective students from their interactions with your content. Both customization and personalization serve to enhance the user experience.

Customization makes it easier for the prospective student to understand your school and dive into what it would be like to attend. A clear display of your school’s values and culture allows the prospective students to determine if your school is a good fit for them.

Personalization draws prospective students in. It ensures that each step in their process is tailored to them, making the most relevant content more accessible for students to interact with. You can match their interests in the items your feature and tweak your messaging to appeal to their perspective.

If you are looking to convert stealth visitors into prospects and then into enrolled students, StudentBridge can help. We develop fully customized and personalized virtual campus experiences designed to convert curiosity into applications.

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