“To win your audience, you need to market one-to-one.” It’s one of the industry’s most dominant trends in recent years, and also one of its biggest myths.
One-to-one tactics like segmented email marketing help marketers create specific buyer personas, and aim for – and hit –concentrated targets. The strategy is particularly effective in spaces like retail, where the rise of e-commerce over brick-and-mortar stores saw personalization efforts clearly pay off. However, the one-to-one approach isn’t the right answer for every company or consumer.
Today, brands are recognizing that an overload of customer targeting and personalization can have an adverse effect on audiences, restricting messages when they should instead be amplified. Recently, Procter & Gamble Co. announced it would scale back its targeted Facebook ads for this reason – after spending years honing its ability to narrow the groups of consumers targeted by its advertisements, the brand found that it was missing the bigger picture. As Marc Pritchard, chief marketing officer at P&G, told the Wall Street Journal: “We targeted too much, and we went too narrow, and now we’re looking at: What is the best way to get the most reach but also the right precision?”
The problem with one-to-one marketing
One-to-one is a perfect outreach strategy for customers already familiar with your brand. When a consumer has purchased from your company or considered doing so, details like her favorite websites, affinities for other brands and preferred contact methods can inform your follow-up communications and win her loyalty by honoring her preferred terms. However, if you’ve struggled to make initial contact with a customer, even your most data-driven, targeted forms of outreach might wind up in her spam folder.
Avoid blind spots with “one-to-few” marketing
Instead of aiming to reach every consumer individually, try expanding your target market with a “one-to-few” strategy. For example, a sporting apparel marketer may focus all her efforts reaching football fans, among which her brand’s ROI has already been proven. However, beyond sponsorships with football teams and athletes, a one-to-few approach could uncover a group of prospects that look a lot like her existing customers, but are actually aligned with a different sport she may never have considered – such as golf. Brands of any size, in any industry, can collect data about preferences and traits shared among their customers, then use it to identify new prospects that look a lot like the existing audience on paper – but might reach well beyond the potential consumers they’ve previously flagged. The advantage of today’s marketing landscape is that brands can use social media analysis to drive this strategy with data, rather than the traditional approach of brainstorming new potential customers with a focus group.
With social media data, brands can optimize ad spending among interested audiences and lead new groups of consumers into the top of the sales funnel. As roadblocks with one-to-one marketing continue to halt sales progress for major brands and social insights become more readily available to marketers, we’re expecting to see a rise in one-to-few tactics – with many of our customers leading the way.
Learn more about the role of social media data in the enterprise.