One-to-one marketing

One-to-one marketing

Quick definition

One-to-one marketing is the practice of personalized marketing content, personalized attributes, and humanizing communications to create unique conversations with individual customers.

Key takeaways

One-to-one marketing is used to build trust with a customer and offer them better experiences.

Email is one of the most important channels used in one-to-one marketing.

Mistakes include siloing channels and teams within an organization and delivering invasive messages

Bruce Swann is a product manager at Adobe and has worked at Adobe for five years. Bruce supports Adobe Campaign, which is the product within Adobe Experience Cloud that allows marketers to plan, launch, and measure experiences across different touchpoints where consumers engage. Bruce has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social media, mobile marketing, and email marketing.

What’s the difference between one-to-one marketing and permission-based marketing?

Why is one-to-one marketing important?

How does a company get started with one-to-one marketing?

What channels are most important for one-to-one marketing?

What are one-to-one marketing best practices?

What are the benefits of one to one?

What mistakes do companies make?

Q: What’s the difference between one-to-one marketing and permission-based marketing?

A: With permission-based marketing, customers have to give their consent before receiving communications. Email marketing is a good example. A customer has to agree to provide the company with their email address before the company can attempt one-to-one marketing through that channel.

Q: Why is one-to-one marketing important?

A: The value of one-to-one marketing is that it can build trust between a consumer and a brand. If a consumer is willingly participating in a one-to-one conversation, that can translate to customer loyalty, increased purchases, and an overall better relationship between a company and their buyers.

One-to-one marketing involves tailoring a company's messages to customers based on who they are and where they are in the customer life cycle. When a marketer is trying to acquire new customers, they will communicate with them differently than with someone who has been a customer for 10 years. A new customer will be presented with content or calls to action designed to build trust, whereas with a loyal customer that trust is already there.

Q: How does a company get started with one-to-one marketing?

A: Any organization that has access to customer data can use it to facilitate one-to-one marketing in some way. And one-to-one marketing is usually a journey, rather than a single tactic. A company may think the one-to-one strategy's a pipe dream, but they just need to start small. They may start by sending a consistent message to a specific target audience, like all women in Southern California.

Then, as the company learns more, they can get more precise and engage further with their customers. And once they understand the process, they can expand to more audiences.

To get started, companies need a marketing database that has personally identifiable information (PII) data, or known data, about a customer. On top of that, they need a campaign management tool to send direct communications to someone based on who they are, where they live, what transactions they’ve made, or the segment they're in. Companies should also employ a marketing analyst who has knowledge of the underlying data and either the necessary creative skills, the ability to collaborate with an agency, or someone with creative skills to make sure the optimal content and message is being sent out.

Q: What channels are most important for one-to-one marketing?

A: First and foremost is email. Email is a big one because it’s a channel where a customer has to explicitly give consent to receive communications. And that's a very powerful channel. But then email is often used to activate customers in other channels, like making them aware of a new app they can download.

Social media is also particularly important. Social channels allow customers to interact with a brand where and how they want. And social is also a great way for a brand to learn about who their customers are and where they engage.

Q: What are one-to-one marketing best practices?

A: One-to-one marketing needs a proper data foundation where an organization can start to build up a knowledge base of who their customers are. They should then have an analytics solution they can use to understand and anticipate what customers are likely to do.

Companies should also have the necessary customer relationship management tools to target and segment an audience, then deliver appropriate content across channels like email. Having an email tool is helpful, as email is a powerful channel an organization can use to engage with customers on a one-to-one basis, and it’s also a great way to activate customers in other channels.

Q: What are the benefits of one to one?

A: Improving personalization often translates to higher engagement, which translates to higher revenue. Research also shows that the more channels in which a customer engages with a brand, the more likely they are to actually make a purchase. And the more likely they are to tell somebody else about an experience with a brand.

The benefit of one-to-one marketing for the consumer is that they feel known and appreciated by the brand. They also have easier access to content, information, or product details, and can more efficiently engage with a brand.

Q: What mistakes do companies make?

A: A common trap that organizations fall into is doing things in silos. They'll have one team sending out emails, another one owning mobile, and another team owning social. And what ends up happening is they're all using their own tools to support engagement in those respective channels. Organizations get stuck thinking about channels individually and lose sight of the fact that customers don’t see brands that way.

Companies can break out of the silo trap by having common goals, KPIs, and tracking metrics across different teams. There also needs to be an understanding at the highest level in an organization that they place a high value on putting the customer first.

Brands also risk being seen as creepy or invasive if they show they know too much about a customer. But if they work to build trust with a customer and show that they’re using the information appropriately, the customer is more likely to give out additional information that can be used to further enhance their experience.

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