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The Five Engagement Rules of One to One Marketing

Today ninety percent of Internet users, and over 76% of all Americans, use email, social networks, mobile apps and word-of-mouth/user-generated content sites for researching and making decisions on using your brand.  Second only to search marketing in terms of spend, online marketing is doubling in budget spend very year. The five rules of one to one marketing share a core attribute: they are customer-centric. This means they take an outside-in perspective, from the vantage point of the customer rather than the company; and second, they recognize that the value a company creates must come from current and future customers. The one to one rules below apply these concepts.

1. Build Your Reputation, And Your List

Carefully plan your online marketing mix and reach to spread your message consistently. No marketer wants to be viewed as a spammer or overly commercializing their offerings. Yet, many still operate in a “quantity over quality” mindset. Remember, Reputation = brand. In this environment, the reputation of the marketer becomes paramount; it’s not a warm-and-fuzzy concept.  Continue to use opt-in, offers on applicable messaging, grow your list organically. Populate your email list with individuals who have expressed an explicit interest to receive your communications. It requires at least moving to an opt-in policy, and ideally to the practice of using confirmed opt-in (in which individuals receive a notification email confirming the opt-in). Never stop scrubbing. Ongoing list hygiene is essential given that annual email address turnover is 30%. Use these 6 tips to avoid having a low email open rate.Touch base at least semi-annually to confirm the individual still wants to hear from you, and let customers dictate the frequency of contact going forward. Be trustworthy. More trust means more business.

2. Segment, Segment and Segment Some More

Segments take the traditional categories such as demographics, lifestyle, and customer life stage and purchase history to a finer level of granularity. Segmentation leverages the tracking of online behavior to tailor future offers based on a more detailed understanding of customer characteristics (demographics, product holdings, the tenure of the relationship, etc.) with customer behavior (click-through, purchase, Web-based service inquiries, etc.). Create in-depth personas for your different target markets to guide content creation.

3. Get Creative to Drive Engagement

Marketing online allows for a vast array of creative approaches and techniques to be used together with the rich media of images, video and audio. In this complex realm, even seemingly small but creative changes can increase response by up to 75%. There are many techniques for driving engagement. For example, short polls or surveys may be used to create a sense of participation and ownership in a company’s products.

Links embedded within your online marketing may also drive a connection to a dynamically selected web page, video, or special offer, continuing a customized interaction that was started within original conversation or search medium.  Knowledge is power. Delivering on relevancy relies on the integration of data from different sources into a single knowledge base, including purchase history, service interactions, and campaign response behavior.

Assign ownership. Collective ownership of the customer experience virtually guarantees a fragmented customer experience. Assign one functional area, and preferably a single, executive-level owner. Most organizations look to marketing, but also consider service since the majority of customer interactions happen here. Do it differently. It’s natural to want to stick with what works, but don’t hesitate to try something new to engage customers.

4. Use Email to Enhance the Customer Experience

“It’s common to view online marketing in a silo, as something separate from the customer experience, when in fact it should be used to enhance that experience. Enhancing the customer experience through online marketing is especially effective at select stages of the customer lifecycle.  Build on your data assets. Most companies house lots of customer data (transaction data, behavioral data, etc.), but it’s often scattered and un-leveraged. If you already have segments in place, centralize as much additional data as possible to build the foundation for segmentation. Don’t forget timing. Being relevant isn’t just about what you say, but when you say it. The segment might include a timing component (e.g., a seasonal preference), or messages for a segment might be triggered by an event (e.g., product inquiry). Start where you are. Building segments to take personalization deeper in terms of the content and timing does not require moving mountains. Pick one or two areas where you have enough data points to drill down further.

5.  Analyze Effectiveness

Check the percent of online messages that are welcomed by the recipients.  If it’s above expectations, find out why. Whatever the cause, use the information to improve over time. Test, test. Every marketer knows that copy, imagery and other engagement tools have to be constantly tested for relevance.

In closing, remember...

“It is not necessary to change. Survival has always been a selective choice."

The Five Engagement Rules of One to One Marketing