One-to-one is the pinnacle of marketing. It’s why a steady stream of venture capital has poured into companies that develop data management platforms to capture data across all customer touch points. Investments have also been directed toward mar tech software to allow advertisers to activate the data in all of their ad and customer outreach campaigns.
One-to-one marketing is also why the data sector continues to grow, with all manner of companies, from credit card issuers and social media to retailers, publishers and app developers, joining the ranks of traditional third-party data companies to help marketers target consumers using rich contextual and behavioral data. Today, marketers can purchase – and activate – just about any combination of demographic, affinity, creditworthiness, intent, interest and past purchase data they want.
But marketers shouldn’t assume that without a 360-degree view of the consumer – read: without harnessing every possible thing there is to know about an individual consumer – the approach will fail.
A 360-degree view of consumers often requires marketers to invest in software platforms, sign lots of contracts, hire consultants to integrate it with their existing CRM, customer care, billing and fulfillment systems, hire and train mar tech staff and beef up their IT teams to maintain all of this infrastructure and manage ongoing upgrades. That can be a huge barrier, but it doesn’t need to be.
For example, a marketer doesn’t need to know where homeowners get their news in order to sell them lawn mowers or fire insurance. The marketer just needs to know the homeowner lives in a suburb with grass or is about to buy a house. And a marketer doesn’t need to know where its best customers went to college to help them become brand enthusiasts.
In many instances, a 90-degree view of the customer is more than sufficient to drive strong campaign performance. Let’s say a moving company wants to be the first to offer packing supplies to families planning a move. What do its marketers really need to know?
Basically, just one data point: who listed their house for sale over the past week. True, it can take a long time to sell a house, but anyone who is engaging in that endeavor will surely want to declutter, making that offer of packing supplies just in time. And when it does come time to move, those sellers are likely to call that same company.
And sometimes, the data that marketers already have in their possession offers the power they need to engage in one-on-one marketing. For instance, a luxury fashion brand may want to drive new customers to its flagship store in a city while they’re out shopping. The first step is to build lookalike models using the brand’s CRM data for targeting. Next, using a single data point – geolocation – the brand can target the desired audience by geofencing its flagship store and competitor’s locations.
That’s not to say that one-to-one marketing requires no data or data infrastructure; it does. If the moving company wanted to focus primarily on families likely to do their own packing and storing, it’s easy enough to identify proxies for such do-it-yourselfers with some upfront planning. And as for activation, there are plenty of services available to marketers on an as-needed basis.
The truth is, small and mid-size marketers need to worry less about data integration and more about data activation. The data they have in the CRM system and the know-how that resides in their teams is often enough to create truly relevant one-to-one marketing experiences.