One to One Marketing - Definition, How it Works & Examples

In this article, we will cover the basic definition, main components of one to one marketing, steps to implement one to one marketing, and the best examples.

What is One to One Marketing?

One to one marketing or 1:1 marketing is a customer management and marketing strategy that focuses on personalized one on one interactions with the customer. The core ethos of one to one marketing is personalization and customization, which help improve customer loyalty, producing greater value out of marketing efforts.

The concept of one to one interactions is an age-old recipe for creating a better connection between brands and customers. Old restaurant owners used to remember each customer by name along with their order, so they have a pleasant experience and increased convenience while dealing with the brand. It is a simple way to make sure your users or customers have a fond memory of your brand.

one to one marketing

Over the years, as the companies have grown into large entities the focus on personalization has faded. But with new digital tools being released each day, technology is paving the way to modern personalization strategies. 

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Components of a One to One Marketing Strategy

As mentioned earlier, the two main components of one to one marketing strategy are personalization and customization. Let’s understand what they mean in the below sections.

What is a personalized marketing strategy?

Personalized marketing strategy focuses on providing a personalized experience to the customers. As a generic consumers ourselves, it’s not difficult to believe that customers can get frustrated if they are continuously bombarded with ads that have nothing to do with them. 

Although, it’s hard for companies to channel resources to perform customer experience analytics and provide a personalized experience. But, doing so, can yield great business outcomes that include a high return on marketing investment, a high user retention rate, and more customer loyalty.

The personalization strategy can be implemented using a  number of different channels - like social media platforms, blogs, ebooks, emails or newsletters, interactive webinars, and many more. The goal is to identify your target customer demographic and their particular interests pertaining to your brand. Once these parameters are identified, useful content related to these parameters is a good way to begin personalizing. 

What is a customization marketing strategy?

Adopting a customization-based marketing strategy is a good way to put your customer at the forefront. It gives back power to your customers to pick and choose and overall customize the experience they wish to receive from your brand. 

Giving the customers this choice will ensure greater efficiency in processes, will grant more freedom to the customer, help optimize for resources and also reduce wastage. A customized marketing strategy very naturally segues into a personalized marketing strategy. This is because each customer will get a unique experience from the brand that caters to their specific needs. 

one to one marketing

A few ways to inculcate customization marketing strategy in your company are as follows:

1. Customer relationship management (CRM) software primarily functions as a database or tool to manage all your customer interactions. Using a proper CRM system can help businesses keep track of sales, organize and prioritize opportunities that are most important. Making sure the CRM software works for your particular needs - customized specifically for your brand and users can help map your one to one marketing strategy.

2. Live chat or a live chatbot application is a great way to set the stage for a customized experience for a new user on your website. Live chat software can lead the user to provide them exactly what they need from your brand. Making sure there is no time wasted and even reducing operating costs in some cases.

3.  A dynamic, responsive website can enhance the user experience by miles. If the website is designed with elements that serve a specific purpose, it can help create an experience that is tailored to your customer’s needs.

4. Any interaction with a customer should be customized by adding a personal touch. Email marketing initiatives can fall apart if this is not taken into consideration. Your content should, on the surface, look more like an attempt towards interaction rather than an advertisement.

Using segmentation for one to one marketing

Segmentation as the word suggests attempts to create segmented groups of your customers, leads, or clients based on different parameters. Each segmented group refers to a specific demographic of your users. With segmentation, both personalization and customization become easier. For example, a different email marketing campaign can be sent to a particular segment with content that’s relevant to them. 

Steps to Creating a One to One Marketing Campaign

Creating a one to one marketing campaign can be a difficult endeavor to embark on. But following a few steps can help ease the process. For starters, the one to one marketing strategy very ardently puts customers at the forefront. So the campaign should be centered around empathizing with customers to cater to their specific needs. 

1. Identify the right users or customers

The first step to building any successful marketing campaign is to define or identify the right customers for your brand. This is essentially a data collection step where companies identify their users and try to find out all the information about their experience. Here users can include new and existing customers.

2. Build a comprehensive database

Now that you have all the information you need, the next step is to build a comprehensive database that efficiently navigates and tracks all relevant parameters. A detailed database is considered a foundation of a good one to one marketing program. The database should extensively outline all the details about your customers that can give you valuable insights about your user’s specific needs. 

The goal here is to begin with the data available and find ways to leverage that data. Based on this information, a personalized and customized marketing campaign can be devised. This data can be in the form of quantitative data or qualitative data. Both types of data will holistically inform the specifics of the customer experience.  


3. Constant interaction with customers

Since data is at the center of a good one to one marketing strategy, collecting data from customers through direct interactions, surveys, and feedback can add to the knowledge. This continuous interaction with customers to gain their feedback can also be a constant input to the database. 

As time progresses, it can get difficult to base your marketing decisions on outdated data. Therefore, continuous feedback for any dynamic business can prove valuable.

4. Create specific customer profiles

The goal of creating a specific customer profile is to move from a surface-level understanding to a deep-down customer-level understanding. Here teams can build segments of individual customer profiles to collect relevant data. This relevant data can include:

  1. Browsing history
  2. Purchase history
  3. Cart abandonment metrics
  4. Exit rates
  5. On website interactions
  6. Specific sales touchpoints
  7. NPS data

These quantifiable metrics will give an objective outlook to map out the best customer journey. 

5. Designing a seamless customer journey

Once all the metrics are outlined and the comprehensive customer profiles built, teams need to create a customer journey designed specifically keeping in mind the core principles of one to one marketing. 

one to one marketing

Now depending on the metrics, teams can embed triggers to remind customers to complete a transaction or send emails to direct them to more relevant content. The aim here is to make the customer journey as smooth as possible. A smooth journey should lead to a higher number of purchases or sign-ups causing less friction and in turn cart abandonment.

Examples of One to One Marketing

There are a number of different ways companies can begin to incorporate one to one marketing in their original marketing campaigns. Some of these methods are as follows:

1. Personalized Emails 

Sending personalized emails is one of the most effective ways to implement one to one marketing strategy. Any personal information about your customer can help you draft a good personalized email. For starters, addressing the customer by their name could be the first step to creating a personalized experience. 

Furthermore, brands can emphasize sending their customers emails that are only relevant to them. Generic mails can lead to lower open rates, as customers will assume the mail is generic even without opening it. A personalized subject line can also help with this problem. 

Adidas does this best by segmenting its customers based on gender. This allows them to send personalized emails to each of their demographic users. So male users only receive the top new male shoe designs or any other product recommendations similar to the ones the customer has explored on the Adidas website.

2. Triggered Emails

Another way to send one to one emails with a personalized touch is by triggering particular emails at various touchpoints during a customer journey. Since these emails will obviously be relevant to the customer they’ll usually see a higher open rate. 

Examples of such emails can be a simple reminder to ask your customer to continue their purchase (reducing the cart abandonment rate) or an order confirmation mail with a few more recommendations to similar products. This can greatly add to the personalized experience.

3. Exclusive Customization Opportunities

According to the 2018 Market Personalization Pulse Check report, 91% of consumers will more likely shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations. Whereas 80% of frequent shoppers say they only shop with brands that give them a personalized experience.

These metrics clearly suggest that customization and personalization options are valued by consumers. Hence, any product that allows users to customize their experiences will naturally attract more users. 

For example, users love to create personal playlists on Spotify making sure to derive the best overall experience with the app. In turn, Spotify also creates a Discover Weekly playlist that is tailored to the user’s specific taste in music. This is appreciated by users as they get the opportunity to discover new music without steering away in uncharted territory.  


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