We all have fond memories of the local pharmacist or grocery store clerk calling us by name or talking to us about the details of our lives when we walked into the store. While the ways we communicate might be a little different these days, we as people still want others to know who we are. We want people to care about us as individuals. It’s like that feeling you get when your grandma surprises you with a batch of your favorite cookies (mine are peanut butter). Just take a look at your Facebook News Feed if you have any doubts.

While tailoring marketing and public relations efforts to audience demographics and preferences is far from being new, it is still essential. In a time when competition is fiercer than ever and consumers’ time and attention are precariously short, making your brand relevant means making it relevant to each audience member. While marketing to each person as an individual may seem daunting, these five practices will help bridge the gap between your brand and your target audience.

Listen. Pay attention to what your target audiences are saying online and offline. It’s the only way you can understand what’s important to them, which is essential in creating any kind of dialogue.

Respond. Speaking of creating dialogue, responding to customers would seem like the obvious thing to do, but it’s not. In fact, 70 percent of complaints on Twitter aren’t responded to. Whether good or bad, at least acknowledging customers is better than ignoring them.

strong>Be human. In its simplest form, a business is a group of humans—and at their core humans want to connect with other humans. With 80 percent of businesses being deemed “not passionate” in their online presence, it’s hard for target audiences to feel any personal connection to these businesses.

Remember your audience is still human. Whether you are trying to reach potential customers or the media, try to maintain a personal touch. Sending emails from a personal account, creating customized pitches for media relations efforts and picking up the phone to talk are a few simple ways to personalize your marketing efforts.

Segment audiences. Instead of the generic, one-size-fits-all messaging that is common to public relations and marketing efforts, opt to tailor content and design to create a more personal connection. Segmenting your target audiences by geography, age, marital status and other demographics and preferences ensures that you deliver only the most relevant content to your target audience. Consider Smart Furniture, who after segmenting its target audience into three categories (small business customers buying office furniture, high-end furniture, and value-based apartment furniture) realized open rates of up to 311 percent for targeted email campaigns—which translated to double the sales with half the email sends compared to un-segmented campaigns.

Think about your audiences and what you want to know about them—whether it’s baking a batch of peanut butter cookies or crafting an email with their interests in mind, you can make your brand more relevant by making it relevant to each audience member.

How do you personalize your marketing efforts?