One of the most reliable and impactful methods for enhancing a persuasive appeal is to match an aspect of the proposal (i.e., its content, source, or the setting in which it is delivered) to an aspect of the consumer receiving it. This personalized matching in persuasion (also called tailoring, targeting, customizing, or personalizing) comprises a robust and growing literature. In the present review, we describe different types of persuasive matches, the primary characteristics of people who are targeted, and the key psychological mechanisms underlying the impact of matching. Importantly, although most research on personalized matching has concluded that matching is good for persuasion, we also describe and explain instances where it has produced negative (i.e., “backfire”) effects. That is, more than just the conclusion “matching is good” that many researchers have drawn, we analyze when and why it is good and when and why it can be ineffective—insight that can benefit marketers and consumers alike in understanding how personally matched appeals can impactattitudes and ultimately behavior.
Teeny, J. D., Siev, J. J., Briñol, P., Petty, R. E. (2020). A review and conceptual framework for understanding personalized matching effects in persuasion. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 1-33.