One-to-one marketing or 1:1 marketing is a type of direct marketing in which a salesperson communicates directly with somebody. This person is somebody the company targets deliberately. It is a CRM strategy that focuses on personalized interactions with customers or potential customers. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.
We also use the terms personalized marketing and individual marketing with the same meaning as one-to-one marketing. Marketing refers to analyzing the market, finding out what consumers want, and then determining whether you can deliver it. Above all, determining whether you can deliver it at the right price.
Marketing executives claim that one-to-one marketing generates a better return on marketing investment. This is due partly to greater customer loyalty. Customer loyalty refers to customers coming back for more repeatedly.
Martha Rogers and Don Peppers first mentioned the term in their 1994 book ‘The One To One Future.’ They proposed the idea of one-to-one marketing as a CRM approach.
In a one-to-one marketing dialog, for example, the sales representative listens to the customer. Specifically, they listen to what the customer needs and then propose services they can offer.
Providers of both goods and services may use this kind of CRM approach.
One-to-one Marketing Types
In 1:1 marketing, there are basically two types; personalization and customization.
The seller finds out what customers’ tastes and personal preferences are. The seller does this on an individual basis.
Then, the company customizes its marketing plan according to each individual’s taste and preferences.
Many online retailers do this today. For example, have you noticed how Amazon.com suggests new products? They are always goods that we have either showed an interest in or bought.
The seller gives customers the opportunity to customize the product to their specific tastes. In this case, the company does not, however, focus on learning what each customer’s preferences are.
For example, a car manufacturer offers the basic car. The customer then can add features themselves, such as color, engine size, types of seats, etc.
Additionally, customers can specify what type of wheels they want and whether they want an automatic or manual vehicle.
There are four important steps for implementing one-to-one marketing.
1. Identifying the customers:
The company must be able to locate and contact a fair number of its customers directly, or at least a substantial portion of its most valuable customers. It is critical to know customers in as much detail as possible. The information should contain not only names and addressable characteristics but their habits, preferences, etc. Snapshot information is not enough. The company should be able to recognize the customer at every contact point, in every medium used, at every location and within every division of the company.
2. Differentiating the customers:
Customers are different in two ways. They represent different levels of value to the company and they have different needs. Once each customer’s needs and value are found out, it is possible to tailor the company’s behaviour to each customer in order to reflect the customer’s value and needs.
3. Interacting with customers:
It is important to be both cost-efficient and effective when the company is interacting with its customers. Cost-efficiency improves by directing customer interaction towards more automated channels. Providing information on its website would be more economical than supporting a call centre.
A company can increase the effectiveness of its customer interaction processes by providing relevant and timely messages to its customers. Its customer interaction processes should enable it to understand customers’ nuanced needs, and serve them better.
A company should remember its every interaction with a customer, and its every new interaction with him should take into account every other interaction that it has had with him, no matter whether the interaction took place on a website or with a salesperson. A new interaction should be in synchronized continuation with the one that was held earlier with the customer, which might have been a few moments ago, or a few years ago.
4. Designing and producing a unique product:
A customer’s needs would be unique, i.e., it would be substantially different from those of other customers. And hence the company would have to design and produce a unique solution for him. The company would have to learn to mass customize, i.e., design and produce a unique product for each customer at the cost of a standard product.
The company should follow modular designing to enable production of customized products from standard components. It is tempting for a company to overlook this critical step, as it involves investment to make the operations of the company flexible and responsive. But one-to-one marketing will not cut much ice with customers, if the activities and processes of the company cannot be customized to each customer.
Managers are tempted to dismiss one-to-one marketing as unattainable. Maintaining a customer database, having one system communicate seamlessly with another, tracking each customer’s contact with the company, making the operations responsive and flexible, and assigning responsibility for maintaining customer relationships across divisions can be daunting tasks.
But the benefits emanating from successful implementation of relationship marketing should justify investment of time and money in the endeavour. One-to-one marketing increases cross-selling as customer’s requirements are known more intimately; reduces customer attrition as the company learns of increasingly more sophisticated and effective ways to serve the customer’s evolving needs; reduces transaction costs as the customer’s requirements are known and can be promptly served, and it leads to higher level of customer satisfaction as the company’s total offering is tailored to his needs much better.