So, What is One to One Marketing Anyways?

What does it actually mean?  

One of those recurring, annoying buzz phrases that those of us in the marketing “biz” keep hearing (and using) is “One to One Marketing.”  Most people think they know what it means, but interestingly – for a concept that has been around and executable for at least the last 15 years – the uptake or adoption of this tactic is surprisingly low.

Whenever I meet with clients, there is a lot of head nodding around the boardroom table when I extol the virtues of a marketer supplying “The RIGHT message at the RIGHT time to the RIGHT person.”  This statement sums up the purpose of One to One Marketing.

Changing style of Marketing 

It’s safe to say that marketing is moving away from “PUSH” style tactics (mass marketing) to a “PULL” style closed loop system.  Today, when we look at the recipient’s side of the equation – he is saying, “Tell me WHAT I want to hear, WHEN I want to hear it and HOW I want to receive it!”  The days of simple mail merges are gone.  Simply put, Dear <First Name> <Last Name> doesn’t cut it in the eyes of the consumer anymore.

With the advent of Digital Printing, the Internet, Smartphones and Tablets – people are receiving increasingly customized content all the time.  The degree to which people are “connected” means they are constantly seeking out information using their different devices.  They do so wherever they are and whenever they want.

Customer Trends and Barriers 

Sherpa was an early adopter of pull strategy development and pull tactics delivery.  That said, customers tend to fall into safer, time-tested push tactics - due to different barriers.  One of the most significant barriers is a true understanding of the client or prospect and what he/she needs to hear.  

We overcome this knowledge gap through careful analysis of your transactional data.  This insight drives more effective, customized messaging and using the right medium for delivery.

Another reason that clients shy away from “variable data” pieces is the relatively high cost per unit. Simply put, any communication still needs to be professionally designed.  When Sherpa runs a data merge that combines unique text and images into many unique pieces, the costs do rise significantly.  

Through the careful (and relatively simple) construction of an image and text database, you can create extremely compelling communications pieces that when married with segmented data, have much better “open rates” and “conversion rates” than a standard piece.  

Imagine being able to send out a direct mail piece or HTML email that says something like, “Dear Shawn, we noticed that you were on our website and you seem to be particularly interested in product X.  You can purchase product X at retailer Y and because you have made Z purchases you are entitled to XX% off your next purchase.”

This level of personalization and customization creates a greater connection between the customer/prospect than if the vendor just compiled a list of all its customers and sent a generic mass mailer with tombstone data.  When something is cleverly designed and communicates directly with the recipient, it is far more likely to drive a positive result.

?Comparing ROI's of One to One Campaigns vs. Mass Campaigns

Where things get interesting is when one compares the overall ROI of a One to One campaign vs. a mass campaign.  The results show that, in general, while you send far fewer pieces out in a One to One campaign, when one compares the One to One results against the mass approach - a clear trend appears. While the unit cost of mass is low, when you compare the number of impressions to conversions, the ROI on mass ends up being lower than that of the variable data piece.

Best marketing practices demand appropriate frequency and consistency.  Just like mass marketing, One to One requires that the marketer have an effective communications plan that is more than a “one off.” You really have to stay on brand and on message and do so repeatedly.  

To see even more effective results (once you have the correct frequency and consistency), it’s time to “close the loop” - to make all your communications contain the same well thought out variable components.  By evaluating or measuring the success of each successive tactic, you can further hone the specific information that is being delivered effectively, improving your subsequent tactics ROI.

Why should you choose Sherpa?

Sherpa is uniquely positioned to provide One to One solutions.  There are scant few companies in Canada that have all of the necessary capabilities housed under one roof and can deliver these kinds of solutions. These skills are:

  • Skilled data analytics staff to crunch the client’s data and provide the insight that drives the strategy and segmentation.
  • Hardware/Software enabling the creation and delivery of everything (secure databases, web hosting, EBlast servers, exceptionally flexible digital printing, data-merge software, fulfillment capabilities, SMS messaging capabilities…etc.)
  • Brilliant creative that delivers compelling messaging and visuals with a ‘can’t miss’ call to action.
  • Database construction, maintenance, and hygiene expertise the make sure the pieces being created are accurate.
  • Employing the people that have the intellectual capacity to understand how to push the limits of our technology to deliver measurable results.

 We have a long held belief in the “Sherpa World” that technology is the great equalizer.  We make this claim repeatedly because we have seen the results of well executed communications.  Touches that are part of an overall communications plan and created from sound analysis and segmentation.

If you agree that your customers and prospects want the right message at the right time and that different customers should be treated uniquely, you should be talking to Sherpa to see how you can improve your marketing ROI.

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