In working through the basics of online marketing, one fairly grey area for many people who are new to the field is One-to-One marketing. The term comes up every once in a while, either in this blog or somewhere else on the web, but it is very rarely defined in any concrete sort of way. Unfortunately, failing to understand this elementary concept of internet marketing sets individuals up for a difficult time later down the road. As such, let’s take a moment to review the term, what it means, and how it affects your online marketing campaigns.
At first glance this term might seem to refer to the process of identifying customers individually and catering a product or service directly to their interests. While not so terribly far from being true, this actually limits the scope of the term and inaccurately portrays it in the context of the internet. Instead, we should think of one-to-one marketing as the act of making a product appear to appeal to the interests of an internet user without that product necessarily being relevant to the customer.
The last part of this definition may trip up some readers. When we say that the product being marketed toward an individual is not necessarily relevant to the customer, we do not mean that they do not want or have any interest in such a product. After all, what would be the purpose of trying to sell something to someone that they absolutely do not want? Instead, this means that we take a fairly generalised product that does not necessarily pertain to the information received by the customer and sell the points that highlight its usefulness to a potential customer.
This is typically done in four steps that locate individuals and cater to their interests. You must first identify your customer – find potential targets and collect as much information about them as you can. In many cases this is done for you by the advertising service you use; advertisements that appear among search results collect data through the search keyword.
Next, differentiate the individual customer by identifying the needs that set them apart from other potential customers. In our example of search results this is again done automatically through data trending and the retrieval of relevant search results and advertisements.
The third step, interact, simply identifies the best way of reaching the customer through channels meaningful to them. In search results this has largely been done for us, although distinctions can be made between things like banner ads and text ads.
Finally, customise the product to appeal to the interests of the potential customer. In one-to-one marketing through search engines, this typically means altering the text of an advertisement to reflect the search keyword, thus making a generalised product specific to the needs of an individual.
By understanding identification, differentiation, interaction, and customisation, you open the door to the world of one-to-one marketing. It has utterly revolutionised the way marketing is done online through engines like Google, which have made a name for themselves by doing most of the hard work for you. Intelligent marketers, however, will find other applications for such strategies and utilise them through as many online channels as possible.