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True One-to-One Marketing or 50 Shades of Grey

Have you ever heard the phrase “true one-to-one marketing?”

I always want to know what separates plain old one-to-one marketing from true one-to-one marketing. And better yet, is it worth it?

My first decade of work experience was in finance. As great as marketing ideas sound I am always doing the math in my head as to whether or not the proposed solution is worth the investment.  At the end of the day each investment needs to have a payoff. Now some results will take longer to realize than others and it is prudent to be patient but sooner or later the money has to come home.

So what is one-to-one marketing?

One-to-one marketing is a customer engagement strategy emphasizing personalized interactions with customers.  But here is where it goes from black and white to mostly 50 shades of grey.

There are many different forms of personalization that marketing can take.

  • Hey they addressed the message to me! The most rudimentary form of personalization. The customer’s name on a credit card solicitation. That piece was personalized.
  • Wow, it’s like they know something about me! The offer extended to the customer is selected out of many potential offers based on what they know about the customer; again further personalized.
  • Whoa, I might even take them up on this offer! A million different customers receive their own personal portfolio of grocery offers on a weekly basis, selected according to each customer’s personal relevancy based on predictive analytic scoring.
As soon as marketers go from one mass message to choosing from more than one option to send, they have ventured into one-to-one marketing. How far to take personalization is now the question you need to answer. And the answer to that question is revealed in the math.

What is the potential payoff?  Some of that can be determined by the answers to these questions:

  • How often do your customers shop?
  • How much do they typically spend per trip?
  • How much variety is there in your assortment?
Then start testing. Each investment needs to create a bigger return than the previous. Once you reach the point where greater personalization doesn’t generate better return you have found true one-to-one marketing, in other words, how personalized your marketing should be for your customers in particular.

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