The 1 to 1 Marketing Relationship

I sat with a couple friends last night discussing business and future opportunities in several industries. Our conversation however found its way to talking about a local business owner which has run into a very rough patch of business in this economy and how marketing is no longer working for him.

As we debated and turned over in our minds the various issues he was facing it was clear to me that this business owner was likely blaming the media for his marketing failures instead of looking at how he was relating to the consumer in his message.

I have heard this from business owners for the past 10 years, being in the newspaper business. “Your product does not work anymore. ” I am sure there are thousands of media reps whom have heard those exact words from their clients. I want to challenge this myth in this blog and direct business owners attentions back to the 1 to 1 marketing efforts that they must now embrace in order to get the marketing funnel functioning again.

  1. First Myth – Media is broken. This is just is not the case. Media in every field can be wildly successful if you pay attention to two things. Who is the audience? How does that Audience like to make decisions on usage?  Let’s take newspapers as an example (everyone’s favorite dinosaur that just will not go away) Newspapers today are still read by more people on the average day than the number of people who will watch the Superbowl this year. The Superbowl is considered the single largest TV event to air each year. So the vehicle although changing and shrinking is still huge and not broken in the sense of reaching audience.  However, many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to market in the media and think it is because no one is reading it.  The Truth is they are reading but the AD programs and marketing is Stale and uninviting. Or your message sounds too much like a gimmick and todays consumer just is not buying it.
  2. Second Myth – Word of Mouth Marketing is all I need. This is my favorite. The fact is the moment you decide that this is your marketing plan for the year you have decided to close your business. It might not be this year, but you have placed the end in your future. Word of mouth is great, and it is the ultimate goal for every business, but the reality is that consumers only value you until they find better value, and they will leave. With out a planned out marketing method for growing customer base you are counting on a false impression to keep your business running. In todays social networks it is even tougher, because one mis-step by you and the word of mouth will swing the other direction and provide instant death.
  3. Myth Number 3 – My Customer does not use that media.  Tricky one hear, because you just might be right.  If your business model is mainly people 65 plus you probably don’t have a current marketing need for mobile marketing. Or do you? One of the toughest challenges in marketing is consistently looking towards the future and not just analysing the current event. I firmly believe that all marketing has value. Your event may not have given you the ROI you were looking for but what is the overall growth of your company brand. Even markets that serve the 65 plus crowd might need to look at mobile marketing so that they can capture that next generation of consumer.  Yeah I know, you can’t afford to do everything. I have no answer for that, just don’t use it as an excuse and bury your head in the sand when discussing the future.

Ok I am sure you can give me a few more Myths in the media word. But let’s turn our attention to the 1 to 1 marketing methods that business owners need to embrace and how to keep the marketing funnel working for us in the process.

What is 1 to1 marketing?   1 to 1 marketing only refers to the methods in which you communicate and cater to individual customers in your marketing efforts.  You know customizing your marketing to the individual not the crowd.

There are hundreds of methods in which a business owner can employ 1 to 1 marketing. No doubt you have received this marketing from your favorite stores in the last quarter and may not have even know it. When was the last time you received a promotion from your bank offering you Free life insurance because you are a value member? How about the magazine which magically has your name screen printed onto your teams favorite jersey?

These are all tactics of 1 to 1 marketing. 1 to1 marketing is the process in which a business uses the information they gather on their customers and transforms that into a unique marketing  or communication with that customer. 

Example:  Lets say you are a veterinarian, you have a data base of 100 customers which own various pets.  You would send out a card to each customer with a picture of the type of pet they own (dog, cat, horse, turtle etc…) the card would not only have your name but the pet’s name on it also, (Charlie it is time for Skippers shots, come on in for a 20% discount this week only)  In that one hundred you might have 25 dogs 50 cats and 12 horses and 13 turtles. Each card is customized to that customer and the communication seems very personal.  That is an example of 1 to 1 marketing and mass customization.

So how does a local business use 1 to 1 marketing in the scope of  a business plan. First understand it is not the end all to marketing. It is only as good as the data you collect.  Second, it will not feed the funnel with new prospects unless you are really good at getting your customers to give you continual referrals. But 1 to 1 marketing tends to have a much higher rate of return. In the direct mail industry statistics suggest that 1 to 1 marketing is read at a 30% increase over standard direct mail.

What vehicles allow you to use 1 to 1 marketing:

  • Mobile marketing
  • Social Media
  • Direct Mail
  • Post Cards
  • E-Blasts
  • PURLS (personalized URLs)

Before starting or finishing your marketing plans in 2011, discuss with a consultant or business partners how you can use 1 to 1 marketing in 2011 to enhance and grow business.