‘One size does not fit all’ is a widely accepted nugget of wisdom in modern marketing, referring to the out-of-date tactic of marketing at everybody (or nobody, depending on your perspective). It’s widely accepted that ‘spray and pray’ techniques are horribly ineffective and that sending out mass communications, without any consideration about whether your targets actually want the information you’re sending, can actually really annoy people.
In today’s digital world customers expect a relevant, personal and ‘non-spammy’ experience…in fact, they demand it and react to brand interactions accordingly - 84% of people would walk away from a company that doesn’t listen and the flip side of that is 74% would respond positively to companies that understand them. So get it right consistently and you’re on the right path to being a winning brand.
Treat customers as individuals
To be effective, marketing communications should be tailored to individuals, regardless of channel. Leading B2C organisations and effective marketers recognise the need to be able to identify, understand and engage with their customers (and prospective customers) across channels and critically at the right time. An important and rapidly increasing trend is that brands are taking a more strategic approach to the use of data.
In a recent Experian poll it was found that chief data officers at leading brands believe they can increase profitability by as much as 15% by better management of their data. It’s vital to have a data strategy and a clear one at that, which helps brands fully understand their existing customers and audiences.
Customer experience is the key battleground in marketing and the best way to improve the customer experience is to be able to tailor it to the preference of each individual. This is where ‘segments-of-one’ come into play.
To treat customers as individual segments you have to think of them as such. A larger segment may have several thousand customers in it, but brands still need to treat each one of those within that segment as an individual. They may differ wildly in certain areas (football team supported, car driven, political empathy or purchasing habits) and it depends on the original segmentation exercise - not only how detailed it was, but also what factors the brand chose to differentiate on.
This shows how important it is to conduct an accurate as possible profiling process that produces segments you can rely on and then action effective marketing activity as a result. It also demonstrates how critical the thinking behind each segment is.
It’s necessary to be able to personalise or segment within each group. What you need, essentially, is a database with data about the customer that can be used for personalisation, a segment containing that person, and an automated process to facilitate communications using not only the segment information, but also every piece of data available to you, in order to provide an individual experience.
Today’s marketers have access to so many different types of data and customers have more touch points than ever before. Each touch point – whether that’s social media, email, direct mail or SMS (to name a few) – is an opportunity to understand and know more about that customer or audience. The key is making sure you are collecting and accurately recording as much information and data as is available because every time an individual interacts with your brand is an opportunity to collect and record data.
Be a market leader
Marketing to the segment-of-one requires specific personalisation, in real time - based on accurate segmentation, customer insight and dynamic cross-channel capability. Only by having quality data at your fingertips, will brands be able to harness the insights required in order to implement a truly individual, personalised marketing strategy. Brands should continue to increase the volume and quality of their first party data and help consistently strive to understand customers and audiences. This is something that will get ever more important in the race to stay ahead competitively.
The ability to market to a segment-of-one allows brands to communicate with customers on their terms and allows brands to make an important differentiation - to start to think about interactions instead of campaigns. Providing a relevant message via the right channel and at the right time – the Holy Grail of marketing – thereby increasing engagement, advocacy and loyalty... Now why on earth would you not want to do that.