Today’s consumers are more challenging than ever, and they have unique demands that marketers and business owners never needed to address in the past. Before, customers may have had more basic requirements, such as quality service, or fair and competitive pricing. Today’s customers expect that too, but they also want proactive service, personalized interactions, and the ability to receive an integrated experience regardless of which channel they are utilizing in the moment.
If your business fails to understand the needs of your customers, the chances are that your business will fail.
Marketing to Individual Customers
Taking the time to truly understand your customers as individuals (and not as part of a generalized population or household) is critical for your success.
- Customers expect you to break down your business silos—Customers expect a seamless experience. Omni-channel marketing is about providing an experience that transcends any one medium and provides shoppers what they want when they want it. Therefore, if your business can’t provide for this, it’s time to make some changes.
- Customers want everything personalized—Customers want to be treated as real people, and not just as a number. Tailored engagements, based on a customer’s individual past experiences with your brand, are crucial. Customers are also far more likely to engage in a transaction if they receive a personalized recommendation, or even better, an offer.
- Customers want you to innovate—If your business is stuck in the past and hasn’t taken steps to learn and evolve, you’re likely going to fail before too long. Today’s customers want you to provide new products more frequently than ever before. In addition, they want to know that you are listening to their feedback and incorporating their suggestions into your new products.
- Customers want to know you have their back—There have been so many data breaches in recent years that customers are getting more and more nervous. Most customers believe that their data is vulnerable to security breaches, and they are very worried about how you are using their data.
Advantages of Individual Marketing
An excellent example of individual marketing, or personalized marketing or one to one marketing, is what takes place on the internet. More and more brick and mortar retailers and service providers are creating or revamping their websites to better tout and advertise their goods and services. These sites are intended to provide relevant and applicable information that a customer can use when conducting research about a product or service and an overall brand. Customers really aren’t concerned with the amount of time or expense that is put into the site, but they do expect it to be easily navigable, aesthetically pleasing, and full of information that answers their questions.
The above information isn’t to say that a website needs to cater its content to every single person that comes to the site. That would be impossible. But businesses do need to be listening and watching for changing needs so that tweaks can be made when necessary.
Businesses that take the time to thoroughly understand their customers and develop individual experiences will benefit greatly.
- Customers and brands begin to develop a mutual understanding of one another, which can eventually lead to brand loyalty.
- Customers are satisfied when they feel they are being heard, which also results in brand loyalty.
- Your marketing efforts can become more efficient over time as you know what your customers expect, as well as what does not interest them.
- Product development becomes more and more cost-effective.
- Advertising and marketing efforts begin to develop a more demonstrable return on investment (ROI).
- Loyalty starts to build.
Disadvantages of Individual Marketing
It’s not exactly fair to say that there are true disadvantages, especially with today’s needy customers, but this isn’t to say that there won’t be challenges.
- It is impossible for companies to know everything about every customer—so don’t expect to get to that level.
- Some company leaders may feel that personalized attention to customers is inefficient and expensive. If this is the case, and you can’t prove the ROI of your efforts, it probably means you are doing something wrong.
- Brands need to capitalize on market share, so the focus needs to be on the 20% of customers that represent the 80% of your revenue. Start with that group of customers, and then expand to the next, but only if you believe the payoff will be there.
- Ensure that the demands you do use make sense for your business niche and target audience. If you miss, it will be an expensive lesson, and it can be hard to recover when customers think you aren’t in tune with their needs and expectations.
- You will need to increase your marketing and advertising budget to pursue individual marketing efforts effectively. When you do it right, though, your ROI will improve, and it will prove that the expense was well worth it.
- If you get it wrong, you may turn off a customer that you may never be able to get back. Again, the key here is to take the time to get it right the first time.
Read More>> Win Back Customers
Individual marketing is gaining worldwide recognition and credibility, as the internet has effectively bridged the gap between consumers and your brand. Consider that today’s average adult spends nine or more hours interacting with media online in some way. While some of this can, indeed, be work-related, more and more customers are experiencing days where work and personal needs intermingle. Note that, since over two hours of the previously mentioned nine hours are spent on social media, it means that utilizing the right digital strategies will likely pay off, and fast!
Individual Marketing Tactics: Incorporate into your Business Strategy:
If you’re not quite convinced yet, consider the following.
- Use your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data effectively— Individual-based marketing is propelled by first-party data. Since the data is gathered and grouped from your brand’s direct interaction with your customers, it means that it provides the absolute best insight and knowledge necessary to help your organization make effective marketing decisions. Consequently, be sure that you don’t misjudge the value of the CRM data you obtain.
- Optimize your targeting—As we said, today’s customers are demanding, and they want personalized and customized shopping experiences, even online. Individual marketing provides your business with the ability to move past the typical demographic breakdowns such as gender, income, age, etc., of the past. You don’t intend to turn off your potential customers because you deployed a broad scale generic marketing campaign that is neither relevant or interesting, but you will.
- Reduce marketing waste—When you pursue a personalized marketing strategy, you will be able to effectively pinpoint prospective customers who are most likely to convert and make a purchase. This means higher conversion rates and an improved ROI.
- Understand the overall customer journey—Using cross-channel device habits and closed-purchase behaviors from individual-based marketing campaigns will provide a true understanding of your customers so that you can create products/services tailored to fit your customers’ needs.
- Cookies are no longer king—Brands that rely solely on the technology of cookie targeting will not succeed. Doing so can mean poor personalization, a reduced ROI, inconsistent performance within the many mobile browsers, and an inability to keep up with the ongoing changes in technology.
The Bottom Line
Individual marketing is the marketing strategy of the present and the future and is the only way that brands will be able to stay connected with their customers. These marketing tactics are what connect marketers with real customers and allow for optimized targeting, a reduction in marketing waste, and inefficient spending. If you aren’t deploying individual marketing efforts now, it’s is the time to start!