Testing Personalized Emails
Having inserted personalized fields, the Send Test Email function should substitute values in the email sent (which we set up for the email ID to which the test email is sent).
Currently you just get the property name in all caps which is not very helpful. To test you have to: setup a special test list, do a live send with only this list specified, then clone the email, edit it, and repeat that sequence however many times it takes to get the email to a satisfactory form (for me that's usually several times).
I was told the system is "operating as designed" to which I have to say "bad design!"
Test emails will now use the value saved as the default for a personalization token in a test email, or you may select one of the Contacts in your database to use as an example when sending a test. More here! http://knowledge.hubspot.com/email-user-guide/how-to-create-and-send-emails
John Petersen commented
I ended up creating my own record so that I can Sent Test Email to myself and it will show up with the sample values in my record. That's my only suggestion for this issue.