Long gone are the days of “shot-gunning” email messages to the masses. Instead, most marketers strive to create relevant, on-target communications to their prospects through personalization and segmentation. But today, those proven strategies are even being outshined by one-to-one (1:1) marketing – the practice of marketing to specific customers as individuals to create greater impact on business growth. Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, summarized the 1:1 imperative by concluding, “The shift is to go from the segment to the individual.”
With 1:1 now hitting its stride, here are my thoughts on how it impacts email marketing and more:
- Segmentation as a first step: While marketing to the individual may be the ultimate destination, marketers shouldn’t abandon segmenting their prospects. After all, splitting up email lists based on title, geography, previous behaviors (e.g. purchases, site visits, etc.) and more can improve your message, offer relevance and elevate engagement. Before email marketers can start with 1:1 marketing, they must fully understand how to leverage prospect data to increase email efficiency and ROI.
- The struggle is real: When it comes to segmenting prospects, one of the biggest challenges for marketers -- and one of the biggest obstacles to 1:1 marketing – is the rising number of touchpoints to monitor, manage and analyze. In-person, e-mail, chatbots and social media are just some of the channels that prospects use to engage with brands. Today’s marketers must learn to master the art and science of omni-channel engagement and do what it takes to communicate with each prospect on their terms in order to set the stage for a successful 1:1 future. Indeed, the 1:1 marketing foundation is anchored by the importance of the customer and the desire to provide them an exceptional experience at every stage of the buying and post-sale journey.
- The 1:1 moment: Many marketers, especially those who are new to email marketing, may be in the early stages when it comes to segmenting their prospects and customers. For them, real personalization – where products, pricing and offers are specific to the individual receiver – is still a ways away. And for all of us, the eventual goal will not only be to make the proverbial “perfect” offer to each individual on a 1:1 basis, but to take things even further and deliver the perfect offer at the ideal time – one to moment marketing.
- Start your journey: If your company is new to email marketing – and perhaps still blasting out generic offers to your entire database – begin taking small steps to improve your game. You can start by getting your arms around all your data, collecting it from all engagement points, and making it available to all who need it within your organization. Then you can begin repairing and filtering it, running simple rules to refine your lists and messages, and taking the next steps to initiate personalization and segmentation. Once these techniques have been mastered, your next move may be to incorporate artificial intelligence to automate more of your marketing and even potentially predict your individual customers’ desires to provide the perfect 1:1 offer at the optimal time.
While customer segmentation isn’t dead, the reality is that evolving technologies, the pervasiveness of digital, and ever-rising customer expectations are all having an impact. The confluence of these and other movements may make simpler marketing techniques and generic, off-target offers a thing of the past. In the future, 1:1 marketing may no longer be the exception but the rule for converting prospects into customers.
As always, we at OMI are here to support your email marketing initiatives. Let us know how we can assist you.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI by targeting your best prospects – including top-level executives -- and, ultimately, converting more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.