Today’s consumers are more informed and empowered than ever, and businesses must meet their demands to stay competitive and relevant. Mass marketing is proving to be less effective since customers expect personalized, real-time communications from brands. Additionally, undifferentiated marketing simply does not work for brands’ diverse market segments. Businesses must employ individualized marketing efforts to remain connected. With the variety of channels consumers can use to communicate and interact with brands, marketers have access to a goldmine of consumer information.
However, gaining access to this information and using it effectively has proven to be difficult for marketers, especially without all of the right tools. So how do businesses achieve marketing to the segment of one and make the most out of consumer behavior? Let’s first discuss exactly why individualized marketing is imperative for businesses. Then we’ll dive into how to employ personalized marketing and the technologies that enable it.
Why market to the segment of one?
Traditional marketing channels typically include advertising through print publications, radio and TV, mail, and phone. Many of these high-cost channels have fallen prey to lower-cost digital channels as consumers stay connected around the clock. Consumers want brands to connect with them individually, without the feeling of being stalked or intruded on.
Individualized marketing produces dynamically personalized content and messages that consumers are more likely to act upon. Marketers have seen a myriad of benefits from individualized marketing. According to a recent survey by Everage and The Realtime Report, the main benefits of real-time marketing include:
- Increased customer engagement (81%)
- Improved customer experience (73%)
- Increased conversion rates (59%)
- Improved brand perception (52%)
The majority of marketers today are harnessing this power, with 76% of surveyed marketers saying they have implemented real-time marketing techniques.
The omnichannel customer experience
The path consumers take to communicating and purchasing from brands has become significantly more complex. Say Joe Consumer started a conversation with Retailer Z on his preferred social media application, continued through website browsing and a phone call, and then finally visited the retailer in person. Though Joe was able to talk to Retailer Z, he had to update each channel’s spokesperson with his question, making him frustrated and turning him away from the offer. To alleviate this, it would be best for the retailer to be aware that all these separate interactions came from Joe to produce the most effective interactions with him.
How to market to the segment of one
To market to the segment of one, brands must deliver the right offer over the right channel at the right time, all while personalizing the offer at the individual level and taking into account all available consumer information. So how exactly do marketers do this? Three main things must be put into place:
- Contextual data: By collecting and combining data from all channels, Retailer Z would have known Joe’s basic customer information, purchase history, as well as digital behaviors from when Joe browsed the website and clicked through product details. Collecting all of this data, normalizing it (removing noise and structuring it), and housing it in a centralized logical repository – though a daunting task – is necessary in order to market to consumers individually.
- Analytics: Analyzing consumer data would also enable Retailer Z to put Joe in a specific market segment – which would then allow for forecasting and future behavior prediction. With established analytics, marketers can hone in on the driving force behind all consumer interactions. This can be done through analytical techniques such as segmentation, forecasting, modeling, and optimization.
- Omnichannel capabilities: The ability to orchestrate and deliver marketing actions across all available channels is becoming more imperative as brands move towards “segment of one” marketing. If Retailer Z could link disparate channel actions back to a common customer profile, iterations of marketing programs could take place to enhance and include future actions. Having a real-time infrastructure in place that consists of a decision management architecture that is available in a “steady-state” (always on) is imperative as well. This infrastructure is critical in order to be able to reply with the next best offer or action in a timely, often sub-second, manner. Traditional transactional environments don’t allow for these quick, analytically-based decisions to be made across all channels today.
Consumers’ need for more personal relationships with brands has shifted marketers’ focus from traditional mass marketing to marketing to the segment of one. This requires the right technology and knowledge to seamlessly connect a consumer’s actions across all channels and points in time. Today, the most advanced marketing departments deliver these individualized experiences using contextual data, analytics, and omni-channel capabilities to achieve increased customer engagement and loyalty.
For an in-depth look at Big Data analytics and the omnichannel customer experience, download the SAP ebook Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology Is Transforming Our World.
To learn more about business innovation in the digital era, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.