As far back as 1993 some marketing pioneers, namely @DonPeppers and @Martha_Rogers, predicted the rise of “The One to One Future” due mainly to rapidly advancing technology. I don’t know if even they saw the full extent of what one to one marketing was going to become in the decades that followed. (They do continue to provide numerous books and resources on this theme for small business entrepreneurs like us to keep improving our marketing.)
Despite the rise of social media, mass marketing is still very much in the conversation…if you need proof just try to get an advertising spot during the Super Bowl. However, even the mass marketing of big budget advertisements will typically integrate with social media to draw consumers into the one to one buyer-driven marketing that dominates today with the widespread acceptance and use of social media and smartphones.
With one to one marketing you don’t sell the same features and benefits of your products and services to everyone the same way, you get to conduct many different conversations and build relationships to meet the variety of needs of your customers.
The key to marketing today is using the tools that are available to make your business available to your clients where they are. For example many television viewers are able to find ways to skip the advertisements; many consumers are looking to friends or trusted sources for recommendations or to conduct their own research before contacting a company for their services or products.
The first step in effective marketing is to determine who your target audience is, then determine what interests they may have and where they may look to get recommendations. Once you know their specific interests and what types of social media they frequent you can focus your efforts on providing the resources they need to research your product or services.
If possible find out who are the trusted sources of information for their particular interests, whether they are in the mainstream media, bloggers, social media, etc and begin to reach out to those people. Start by sharing out their info, ask them for more resources on that topic, try to add value to the conversations they begin (don’t just jump in and ask them to promote your product or service). Consumers and these experts typically do not react well to the hard sell.
In mass marketing the goal is increased market share, but for one to one marketing the goal should be for the share of the individual customer. In other words your goal is to ensure each customer who buys your product or service buys more from you, buys only from you, for all the products and services you provide!
Identify your best customers – don’t forget the Pareto Principle, 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. Pay the most attention to the needs of these 20% of your customers especially on a one to one basis with special offers and loyalty rewards.
If you have teams, make sure that the teams are structured around your clients and not around your different products and services, marketing is buyer driven these days. Each team should be responsible for customers with similar interests and cross selling your various products to those consumers. Build relationships between your customers and a specific team. Don’t make them deal with different teams of people based on different products they want. Relationship and brand come first to keep loyalty of your clients long-term.
In summary while mass marketing is still everywhere you look, especially used by the large multi-national companies, one to one relationship marketing has allowed smart entrepreneurs and small business owners like yourself to compete for relevance even with small marketing budgets. Today the consumer demands attention and those who provide them with what they want, whether that be information or a product or service to solve their challenges will benefit from the new age of marketing. If you don’t know your client, get to know them and what they want, they might give you great ideas on expanding your line of products and services to add more value to your customers and improve your bottom-line.
Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!