It’s time to put the full power of technology behind a marketing concept that’s as old as commerce itself.
For eons, merchants have benefited from focusing on customer preferences. Even for early traders, it was clear that remembering details about your customers’ likes and dislikes enhances transactions and builds customer loyalty.
About fifteen years ago, marketers started using the term “one-to-one marketing” (or 1:1 marketing) to describe a CRM strategy that emphasized this kind of highly personalized interaction.
Then even more recently, technology and social media platforms added digital dimensions to 1:1 marketing tactics. Marketers started tracking customer behavior and engaging with their customers and prospects online in increasingly personalized ways.
But now, it’s time to ratchet it up and update the concept once again.
As I see it, the next big thing in our industry is going to be intelligent 1:1 marketing.
Here’s how it breaks down for me.
Going forward, it won’t be enough to know that a certain customer bought a shirt from your store last month or that they “liked” your brand’s Facebook page last week. Going forward, marketers will need to combine and analyze these data points plus others, from a variety of different resources, in real time.
Sure, you’ll still want to know about that past purchase, the more recent social media engagement, etc. –but you’ll also need to integrate that data with even more information. Perhaps most important of all, you’ll want to know when that customer is in your store, considering a purchase. Then, you’ll be able to put all that CRM data to work. (Does your customer want another shirt like the one she bought last month –according to warehouse records, there are plenty more left in stock. Does she know that slacks to match are now on sale? Etc.)
Think of intelligent 1:1 marketing as a strategy defined by this simple formula:
Intelligent 1:1 Marketing = Mobile Devices + Triggers + Social Media + Point of Sale Data
By combining today’s technology with various data points, marketers will be able to present customers with better, more relevant (more “intelligent”) offers on a 1:1 basis.
I know many of us have been talking about intelligent 1:1 marketing for awhile, but only recently have all the pieces started to come together. Certain processes are still evolving, of course, but we now have significant enabling technologies. On the consumer side, there are mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) and social media networks. For retailers and brands, there are now triggers (QR codes, Microsoft Tags), new data warehouse technologies (marketing analytics, predictive modeling, business intelligence) and integrated marketing management solutions (offer systems, segmentations).
Intelligent 1:1 marketing will allow marketers to drive revenue in new ways. Ultimately, we’ll be able to create a completely unique customer experience based on location, past purchase history and behavior analytics. Plus, we’ll be able to integrate that customer experience with warehouse data and other promotions to maximize sales and drive revenue even more.
In other words, get ready. Buckle up. Mobile, social, demand chain/point of sale technologies and integrated marketing are converging . . . and it’s going to get very, very interesting.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring intelligent 1:1 marketing in more detail. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so please stay tuned. And let me know your thoughts. What changes do you anticipate as intelligent 1:1 marketing continues to evolve?
Lisa Arthur, Contributor