One-to-one marketing is a customer relationship management strategy. It’s centered around personalized interactions with customers. Personalization creates greater customer loyalty. And a better return on marketing efforts — see the benefits of leveraging the newest addition to one-to-one personalization: in-session marketing.
The concept of one-to-one marketing first gained attention in 1994. When Peppers & Roger’s book “The One to One Future” was released. The 1 to 1 marketing approach is almost as old as commerce itself. In the past, owners of a general store would take a one-to-one marketing approach. They remembered details about each customer’s preferences. Each time a customer visited, they received a personalized experience. The owner simply remembered what the customer liked. It was simple but effective. Over time that personalization faded. However, with today’s technology, personalized 1:1 marketing is making a comeback.
In this article, we’re going to take a close look at the benefits of one-to-one marketing. We’ll explore the goals of the strategy. Look at examples, history, and its evolution. We’ll find out what one-to-one marketing means for marketers and consumers in 2020.
The goal of one-to-one marketing, like all marketing, is to make a sale. One-to-one marketing communicates directly to the consumer. The person is targeted deliberately. It is a CRM strategy that focuses on personalized interactions.
Personalized marketing and individual marketing are substitute terms for one-to-one marketing. Industry leaders have found that it generates the best return on investment.
The goal of one-to-one marketing is to deliver a personalized experience. And generate customer loyalty. 1 to 1 marketing can add a layer of convenience and personalization that is hard to match. Everyone likes to feel like they’re seen. One-to-one marketing gives that feeling to consumers.
The customer is still king, and when it comes to relationship marketing strategy customization is the new king. Customization increases efficiency, optimizes resources, and cuts waste. Additionally, it gives the customer exactly what they desire.
Businesses using a customized marketing strategy are winning in today’s market environment. It’s quickly become the default position for smart businesses. Let’s take a look at how a customized marketing strategy can set the stage for one-to-one marketing.
Customized CRM systems
Businesses even in the same industry differ from each other. The size of the company, location, and delivery model can vary between businesses. Different styles of operation, products, and needs require unique solutions. Customized CRM software is one of the most sought after solutions. The right CRM collects accurate and relevant data for businesses. A successful one-to-one marketing campaign starts with a good CRM system.
Customized live chat platforms
It’s no secret that the better customer experience a company creates, the more loyalty is earned. Live chat software gives businesses a tool to create a better customer experience. Leveraging custom software live chat helps companies decrease operating costs and saves time. When customers can avoid a 15-minute phone call they’re happy.
A good website is like a showroom to showcase your products and services. A well-designed website with clear messaging benefits both consumers and companies. Find out where your competition is lacking and provide that for your customers. A well-designed and written website makes the customer feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Customize your communication With customers
Surveys show that email marketing with no personal touch finds its way to the trash folder. Addressing the reader by his/her name, coupled with useful and relevant content, gets attention. When people are getting hundreds of emails every day, the only chance for getting their attention is to make it personal.
Hubspot reported that nearly 75% of online consumers are frustrated by marketing that has nothing to do with their interests. With the number of offers, ads, and promotions people receive every day you can understand. When nothing is tailored for you, why pay attention?
Personalization can be implemented through nearly any kind of marketing channel. It can be in website copy, eBooks, webinars, emails, social media, a phone call, interactive content, and more. Let’s take a look at a few strategies businesses are using to personalize their marketing.
One-to-one marketing starts with a plan
Before you can execute a one-to-one marketing strategy. You need to ask some questions and understand how your company will handle the new strategy.
- What brand message will individuals receive?
- What is the customer behavior you want to encourage? (repeat visits, trust, more purchases, etc.)
- What marketing resources are available and which ones will need to be invested in to carry out the plan?
- What is the time frame for the plan?
Start collecting data
Once your plan is in place, it’s time to get started. Identify the data collection techniques you will use to inform your marketing program. There are many ways to conduct research.
- Questionnaires and surveys
- Informal discussions
- Formal focus groups
- Anonymous feedback via email or through your website
- Social media
Put the data you’ve collected and personalization strategy into action. Here are some basic, but proven personalization marketing methods you can leverage:
Email marketing has been around for a long time. It’s one of the easiest ways to get started with one-to-one marketing. Don’t send emails out under your company name. Send them from an actual person on your marketing team. Use a real person’s name as the sender. Make sure your emails look authentic and not like a mass template.
Use their name.
Writing “Dear Customer,” doesn’t create a sense of personalization. Using the person’s real name works. If a prospect has filled out a form or downloaded a lead generator you have their name. Use it!
Marketing automation tools.
Automation tools can trigger lead nurturing campaigns. If a user downloads an eBook focused on a specific topic, for example, you can put them in an email track. Now you’re sending information that you know the customer is interested in.
Create persona-focused content.
The key to personalization is persona-driven content creation. Personas are the closest thing you can get to sending customized content to every single potential customer. One-size-fits-all content never fits all. Persona-based content helps you tailor a message to the right audience.
Respond to customers personally on social media.
Consumers use social media to do their product and service research more and more. When they comment or ask a question, getting a response from a real person can make all the difference.
Now that you have the basic strategy in place, let’s talk about some advanced personalization methods that you can implement that take you beyond addressing customers by name and persona/segment-based marketing to target every customer on a 1:1 basis. To make
Personalization based on customers’ in-session context, or short-term user behavior.
Typically, personalization has been powered by pre-sorting customers into specific segments and personas. But what does the customer need right now? Successful personalization tactics must take it into account a customer’s in-session behavior to deliver relevant personalized experiences to cater to the customer’s immediate need.
Seamless omnichannel personalization.
In this interwoven world of digital and physical channels, businesses need a customer experience strategy where stores/branches/restaurants and digital channels coexist and complement each other. Marketing teams need to build a cohesive, real-time view of customer context that can drive seamless, cross-channel personalization.
Personalization with location, weather and time intelligence.
In addition to being relevant to real-time customer needs, effective 1:1 marketing must also have the ability to relate to real-time customer context. This means personalization that takes historical patterns of engagement and external factors into consideration—such as a customer’s current location, weather, or time—in order to engage with them in the most appealing and contextual way possible.
Personalization based on intent prediction.
To achieve engaging and effective personalization for 1:1 marketing, need to go a step beyond reacting to customer actions in real time—they need to be proactive and be able to predict what those actions will be. This means using machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) for intent prediction to personalize engagement.
Both the customer and the marketer benefit from personalized, 1:1 marketing. The customer enjoys a user experience that is relevant and tailored to their unique needs and interests. While the business enjoys:
A good collection of customer data.
Personalization involves tracking the habits and movement of potential customers. This provides businesses with valuable data that they won’t get with mass marketing campaigns. When you pass your leads to your sales team they are armed with valuable information. They know who they’re selling to and how your product/service meets their needs. If you’re running an e-commerce website, you can direct customers to the products they are most likely to buy.
When consumers feel their needs are being met and a company is making an effort to understand them, they’re more likely to return. Personalization creates a feeling for customers that your story is their story.
The information you get from tracking customers helps you determine what’s working and not working. You can quickly make adjustments with little investment.
One-to-one marketing disadvantages
Because of the amount of sharing between consumers online today, all it takes is one negative shared experience to cause problems. It also takes time for one-to-one marketing to be effective. Success won’t happen overnight. Additionally, customers demand quick and direct answers from employees and representatives. They don’t want to search for answers.
Personal preferences and tastes change over time. This means your marketing strategy will be in continual flux. Keeping up with changes in attitudes and styles will take resources. But if you have the right tools it won’t be too difficult.
There are a number of successful examples out there. We’ll take a look at some popular campaigns in recent years.
Identity-based marketing campaigns
These campaigns rely on customers to self-select into segments. After marketers have the information, they can use it to create personalized messaging and serve ads that are most relevant to them. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign delivered a very effective personalization campaign. They put people’s names on their cans and bottle labels. That’s personalization.
Grammarly sends unique and personalized emails generated from their user’s data. The weekly report shows users’ improvement in productivity, vocabulary, accuracy, and more. The weekly report reminds users how they can benefit from using their premium version.
OfficeMax sends promotional messages that include location-specific information. It helps consumers understand what the next steps are. Once a company has location information for its prospects, it can easily tell them which store is closest to them.
Segmented email opt-ins
DoggyLoot is a company that offers dog products at a discount. They segmented their subscribers by asking questions about the size of their dogs during the opt-in process on their website. They asked simple questions like “how big is your dog?” Emails sent later would be personalized for the owner’s unique dog.
Coffee company Boca Java segments its email list based on how many bags of a coffee customers order. They then send out emails offering a 17% discount on a three-pack of coffee to three different segments. Customers that bought 2,3, or 4 bags of coffee. They found customers in the two-bag segment were most likely to use the discount. This gave them insight into how to tailor personalized offers to all three segments.
Personalized online interactions
Live chat functionality:
Warby Parker, the online retailer for prescription glasses and sunglasses, leverages an all-in-one communication platform with live chat functionality and real-time insights. Warby Parker’s website features a smart, HIPAA-compliant chatbot that connects customers to the right agent immediately upon evaluating the question at hand, providing the 1:1 assistance, personalized promotions, and human-like conversations needed to confidently purchase glasses.
BurgerFi, a growing Florida-based brand, has implemented AI-powered kiosks that use facial recognition and sales integration to suggest menu items to customers based on their previous orders. Once the kiosk system is provided with a customer’s photo and credit card information, it automatically pulls their most recent orders as a starting suggestion for their current meal.
Relevant offers and deals:
Grocery store Acme offers personalized deals to each member of its “Just for U Deals & Rewards” program. By understanding the trends and historical patterns of customers, Acme is empowered to serve up the most relevant offers to each individual consumer, leveraging greater satisfaction and, eventually, growing lifetime loyalty.
StitchFix is a personal styling service that delivers 1:1 interactions using AI to tailor recommendations to each individual. Beginning with a comprehensive style quiz, StitchFix begin learning your style and preferences from the get-go, building upon its knowledge base with every interaction.
Mass marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on marketing to an entire market. Telecom companies use mass marketing because telecommunications is a service used by many. Soaps and detergents use mass marketing.
Mass marketing has been used effectively since the 1920s when mass radio use became popular. It was a chance for corporations to appeal to a wide variety of potential customers
Mass marketing core features
- Targets a massive group of people or market
- Uses mass media to communicate a marketing message
- Scattergun approach – hit as many people as possible and hope for some returns
- Brand awareness
Mass marketing is still alive. Today mass marketing is still effective to build brand awareness. Once a company gains traction, it will start using one to one marketing. However, there are many reasons why mass marketing has declined.
Today the noise and competition are greater than ever before. Companies can no longer compete by only using mass marketing. They need to differentiate to attract customers.
Personalization equals more profits.
The data shows that one-to-one marketing yields stronger brand loyalty and profits. Being a king of a niche is more profitable than a jack of all trades and king of nothing.
Higher customer lifetime value.
Relevant and meaningful 1:1 personalization demonstrates to the customer that the brand knows them and understands their needs. This kind of personalized one on one marketing offers helpful guidance to customers and influences loyalty and advocacy.
More effective market research.
Today market research has become much more simple and efficient than in the past. A form on a website, or email to your list completes half of your market research.
As we already mentioned, mass marketing uses a scattergun approach, and only hits a few targets. It comes at a high cost in terms of buying media time and executing an effective marketing plan. Costs might not be much lower with 1 to 1 marketing, but the conversions are much higher.
In marketing, customization and personalization are often thought to be the same. While crossover does exist, they are different terms referring to different practices. Both share the characteristic of trying to make the customer feel they have a unique relationship with a brand. Both practices have resonated well with Millennials, who have shown to have mistrust towards older forms of marketing.
Product customization is the most common form of customization. Product customization is popular or clothing and apparel. Shoppers can design a piece of clothing or other apparel using an online template. They can choose colors, fabrics, and shapes to make their own unique product. Nike is one of the leading innovators offering customization as a part of their customer experience.
Personalization is probably one of the most misunderstood marketing terms. Unlike customization, personalization has far-reaching potential. Personalization is marketing designed with the individual in mind. This article has largely touched upon personalization in marketing. However, the future will involve more than segmentation. Machine learning is already playing a key role in the evolution of personalization.
Personalization was set in motion when the first HTML dialogue occurred on Christmas Day in 1990. Three years later the book “One to One Future,” hit the shelves. It successfully predicted the future of personalization. Later in 1993, Webtrends was founded, the first commercial web analytics program. At the time, only individuals well-versed with technology had enough understanding to read the data.
In 2005 Google released Google Analytics. This allowed website owners to look at the data using easy to understand visuals. This was the turning point that made one to one marketing more tangible. Conversion rate optimization became the primary metric to focus on.
Machine learning-based personalization
Machine learning personalization, such as recommendation engines, has gained a lot of traction. Algorithms have exponentiated their capabilities, with Amazon and Netflix setting the pace. From email campaigns and highly accurate preference predictions, personalization became common by 2008. Today, A/B testing is an integral part of personalization. Testing helps inform website design and ad campaigns better than any tool in the past, for example.
The future of one-to-one marketing has arrived. The principles of one-to-one marketing go back to the days of the general store owner. The predictions in “The One to One Future” have come true.
Technology has given marketers the ability to deliver a personal experience. The same experience the general store owner once delivered. Now it’s delivered to millions of individuals every day.
The future of one-to-one marketing has arrived. But we are still in the early stages of what is possible. Stay tuned.