Personalization Token Hack: Setting Up Multiple Default Values for a Token

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Reed Gilbride
Reed Gilbride



One of the most powerful parts of the HubSpot marketing tool is the ability to use personalization tokens in your content. Any HubSpotter worth their salt will know that it's key to set a default value for personalization tokens. But what if you're sending emails to a few different segments of contacts, and those segments are different enough that you want to set different default values for a particular personalization token?

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Let's say you're selling widgets, and for the "First Name" field, you want to make sure you differentiate between "Widget Customers" and "Widget Enthusiasts." Personalization tokens can only hold one default value, so normally you'd have to choose a more generic default that would cover both the customers and the enthusiasts. But with a few quick steps, you can ensure that specific emails use your preferred default value for a particular field.

Create a Custom Property

The first step in this process will be creating a new custom contact property. You can't force an existing property to have more than one default value, but you can make sure that there's a second option for personalization. To continue our example scenario, I created a single-line text field to hold the "First Name" value for my customers (in this case, the more exclusive group).


Set that Property's Default Value

Once you save your new property, you'll need to set the default value for that property's personalization token. This one's an especially easy step.


Build a Workflow to Populate that Property

The key step in this entire process is making sure that your users don't have to worry about populating essentially identical fields manually. For this step, you'll be building a simple workflow to copy the existing values from the original property to the new property. You can do this by setting the enrollment criteria for your workflow to "Contact property | [original property] | is known" and choosing the action "Copy a contact property value." Within that action, select the new property you created as the destination property.


For the example scenario, contacts will still only ever be filling out the default "First Name" field. The workflow will ensure that that value gets copied to the "First Name (Customers)" field—that way, if the lead is included on any emails to customers, their name will appear when we use "First Name (Customers)" as a personalization token.

Choose the Right Personalization Token in Your Email

Now that you've done all the setup work, it's simply a matter of using the correct personalization token in your email. When you choose the personalization token you're using, be sure to select the one that is specific to the audience for that particular email.


If you're looking to use the two variants of the personalization token in a single email, you can do so by using smart content in your email. For this process, you can use either list membership or Lifecycle Stage to target the specific contacts who should see each version of your email. For our widget example, you could create a smart rule based off of Lifecycle Stage, where contacts with the Lifecycle Stage of "Customer" see the same content, but have the greeting use the "First Name (Customers)" personalization token. Then, in the default version of the email (i.e., the version that will send to all contacts in your sending list who don't have the Lifecycle Stage of "Customer"), you could use the regular "First Name" personalization token. [Special thanks to Gerard in the comments for pointing out this strategy.]

Congratulations! With those quick steps, you have a way to provide a more specific default value for those special communications.

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