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Guest Opinion: How to Deliver Truly Personalized Marketing

1 Dec, 2008 By: Response Contributor Response

Organizations have been talking about one-to-one marketing for years. With the looming threat of tightening budgets due to the economic downturn, the benefits that personalized marketing yields — increased response and higher conversion rates, greater profits, enhanced customer loyalty and the ability to measure individual campaigns more effectively — are even more essential.

Marcel Holsheimer
Marcel Holsheimer

The good news is that marketing technology has advanced, making it easier to make this vision of one-to-one marketing a reality. There are four key areas that have been impacted by these technology advances, and to which marketers should turn their attention:

1. Targeting. Targeting is a critical component in one-to-one marketing. You must be able to identify, distinguish and reach customers efficiently and effectively. Technology is now able to compile a complete view of a customer by drawing on data in various formats and from various locations and channels throughout the organization. Integration with popular data mining tools enables organizations to perform even deeper customer analysis, segmentation and profiling.

New segment functionality allows organizations to define strategic groups of customers and store that information centrally in one location so that all marketers can use and re-use the same segment definitions. This helps ensure consistency of marketing communications and reduce time-to-market for campaigns. Market segments can also be tracked and measured over time, providing an organization with a clear understanding of the business impact, value and return-on-investment (ROI) attributable to targeting within each segment.

2. Messaging. Messaging is the hook that captivates a customer's attention. With the right technology, you can now customize a message's text, graphics, products and incentives at an individual level.

Personalization is taken to new heights when thousands of different offers can be based on customer attributes and business rules. Additionally, messages within a particular communication vehicle may be tailored.

For example, E-mail or newspaper circulars may contain numerous sections of content that are personalized for an individual. These may be based on his or her preferences, product purchases, or recent life events, such as a new property purchase. Marketing technology not only enables this, but makes it possible to track responses to each content area as well as to the offer in its entirety. This analysis allows marketers to measure the performance and effectiveness of every marketing message.

3. Executing. Executing timely communications based on customer behavior and events is now possible. A critical component of one-to-one marketing is detecting and knowing when customers will be most receptive to a contact regarding a new offer, or when to reach out because attrition seems likely. Based on business and customer-defined rules, marketing technology identifies when a significant change in customer behavior has occurred.

It identifies valid reasons to contact customers and provides marketing staff with consultative opportunities and opportune loss interventions. By signaling when a customer is most likely to respond to a message, event detection can increase cross-sell opportunities and improve customer satisfaction.

4. Delivering. Delivering personalized messages whenever a customer connects with a company is powerful. Today's enterprise marketing technology allows marketers to quickly develop and run all forms of marketing communications — scheduled campaigns, event-driven programs and real-time conversations — with customers across multiple channels, including electronic and print.

A coordinated approach makes it easy for marketers to drive effective interaction strategies that reach individual customers at the right time with the best offer on their preferred channel. Such integrated delivery creates customer dialogues that build loyalty and increase ROI.

With technology advances in targeting, messaging, execution and delivery, organizations are now empowered to make the dream of one-to-one marketing a reality.

Marcel Holsheimer is vice president of marketing at Unica EMEA. He can be reached via E-mail at

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