One to One Marketing: How to Humanize Your Brand

Wednesday 14th, September 2016

personal photo

How often have you received an e-mail that wasn’t specifically addressed to you?

A lot of you might say – not very!

Well, just because it gets dumped in your ‘promotions’ folder – it doesn’t mean you are not in the ‘blast radius’ of clueless marketers.

In a bid to achieve their sales targets, desperate marketers are pushing out generic mailers – and end up making the customer ignored and unappreciated.

But here is the paradox: How can a brand determine what the customer wants without actually reaching out to him?

Kotak Mahindra – A large financial conglomerate in India was facing a similar situation.

They steered clear of cold calls, and instead wanted to market their products to their diverse customer base with effective communication in real time based on customer actions.

However, their marketing channels were incompatible with each other.

Kotak Mahindra Bank used SMS as a vital customer outreach channel, and were facing issues in improving campaign targeting and efficiency.

Their list of target customers and their interaction history could not be integrated with their customer relationship management system for facilitating personalized outbound interaction.

Xerago began by identifying the needs of Kotak Mahindra and its existing technology capabilities.

Based on its analysis Xerago identified the following gaps –

  • The connectivity between the SMS framework and CRM was not natively possible.
  • The client was faced with the choice of purchasing/ licensing expensive proprietary middleware to achieve a seamless connectivity.
  • There was the risk of disrupting the existing client side infrastructure (i.e. move SMS providers, face increased messaging costs etc.) if the new middleware capabilities were introduced.

After extensively analyzing the situation, Xerago developed a shell-based script that would fetch the target audience data, run SMS campaigns and generate campaign response reports. These responses would be fed to the campaign management systems – thereby creating a closed loop marketing system.

This integration facilitated Kotak Bank to reach out to their customers with the right offers at the right time through the right channel.

As you can observe from the above example, personalized communication is achieved when there is seamless integration between different channels.

Think about it.

Why companies like Kotak Mahindra are investing so much in personalized communication? Why can’t they pursue mass marketing?

For one, mass marketing is dead. I can assure you that most people dump your generic mailers in the trash.

Second, technology has become a lot smarter – and it can automatically detect if your mail will be useful to the recipient or not.

So how can you ensure that your brand is reaching the right audience?

If yes, then are they interested in your proposition?

A great way to do this is through one-to-one marketing.

One-to-one marketing (sometimes expressed as 1:1 marketing) is a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy emphasizing personalized interactions with customers.

Considering that marketing today is completely customer-centric, it is no surprise that marketers are keen on establishing, maintaining and enhancing relations with customers.

What better way to do this than through communication that has been tweaked with their preferences and needs in mind?

Some of the obvious benefits behind personalizing your marketing communication include:

  • Improved response rates
  • Stronger customer loyalty
  • Enhanced brand perception
  • Higher brand recall
  • Establishment of credibility and competence
  • Facilitation and encouragement of brand advocacy

When all is said and done, one to one marketing is not a cakewalk – personalized marketing communications require groundwork, patience and persistence.

That said, let’s look at what you as a business can do to deliver a great campaign –

  • Take the time to flesh out buyer personas for your business. Keep in mind that buyer personas are not customer profiles – they help marketers to understand the needs of the buyers and set the ball rolling for personalization initiatives.
  • Take a good hard look at your database. Once you begin to notice patterns, start segmenting your database to make targeting more effortless and efficient.
  • Determine the mediums you will utilize to reach out to your audience. You can’t expect teenagers to be impressed by regular mail or octogenarians to figure what is cool about personalized SMS.
  • Your customers want to hear what will be of use to them. Historical transaction data can reveal preferences – which when used wisely can help you help your customers with valuable information.
  • When you set out to personalize your marketing communications, clearly establish what you expect to achieve from them. Doing this will help break down those expectations and identify what the right metrics would be to measure results.

Parting Thoughts

Personalization doesn’t imply that you should create custom products for each person – it simply means that you need to market to the individual rather than the masses.

Buyer profiling and demographics is great – at the same time you need to understand the psychological and emotional needs of our customers and prospects as well.

Consumer empathy is the new black for marketers. Strive to connect with your audience, understand their pulse – and make an offer they can’t refuse.

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