Messaging Drives One-to-One Marketing and Creates Learning Relationships

As companies try to adapt quickly to demands for digital transformation, there’s one adjacent trend driving success—the ability for brands to go from product-centricity to customer-centricity. This might feel like a new trend for a mobile-first world, but we’ve had plenty of time to adapt.

In 1993, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers emerged as pioneers of one-to-one marketing when they authored The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time. Despite this early prediction, businesses still seem caught off guard by the need to focus on customer relationships.

Rather than seeing customers as a combination of data points, one-to-one marketing calls for brands actually listen to what individuals want.

The original Five I’s of one-to-one marketing have since been reinforced by the concept of learning relationships. And now, messaging has become the channel that makes them both accessible to brands across all industries.

Embracing the Five I’s of One-to-One Marketing

The Four P’s have been a focal point for marketers since the 1960s, but in a mobile-first, customer-centric business world we have to embrace the complimentary Five I’s of one-to-one marketing. If you don’t have your own marked-up copy of The One to One Future, here’s a quick overview of Peppers’ and Rogers’ Five I’s:

  • Identification: Knowing who your customers are beyond just demographic segments, purchase datasets, and other traditional forms of targeting. You have to know each customer and be able to collect information about him/her throughout the lifetime of the relationship with your brand. Having a snapshot from one questionnaire isn’t enough—you need all-encompassing contextual information.
  • Individualization: Your offers should be tailor-made for specific customers. When you have a clear idea of the customer’s potential lifetime value, you can foster a one-to-one relationship that goes deeper than big data collection.
  • Interaction: Companies have been quick to embrace big data analytics. But these systems leave you with inferences about the needs and wants of customers. Creating a dialog with individual customers gives you an idea of both articulated and non-articulated needs—especially when you can maintain historical access to conversations.
  • Integration: It’s not enough to have marketing forge one-to-one relationships while maintaining departmental silos in your organization. The entire company should be refocused with customer-centricity in mind.
  • Integrity: One-to-one relationships can’t exist without trust between you and the customer. You can’t gain trust overnight, but the right messaging strategy can result in valuable one-to-one relationships in the long run.

Each of the Five I’s are rooted in the simple idea that listening to what customers want and acting accordingly on a consistent basis will result in a more profitable business—what Peppers and Rogers call the return on customer. With messaging at the core of your business, you can unlock the compound gains promised in one-to-one marketing.

Messaging and Learning Relationships Go Hand-in-Hand

In their 2005 publication, Return on Customer, Peppers and Rogers explain the concept of learning relationships:

“In effect, a learning relationship dramatically increases a customer’s cost of switching companies or brands. Success depends on learning how to serve this particular customer better than any of your competitors can serve him, because you know more about him, through direct interaction, than anyone else can know.”

Messaging is the perfect way to create these learning relationships. From preference surveys in rich cards to simple one-to-one questions, to open-ended feedback and customer requests, and beyond, talking to consumers in their preferred medium is an invaluable way to learn about them as individuals. Not as data points, segments, or demographics—as individuals.

In the past, telephone calls and emails were your best bet to attempt a one-to-one strategy. But neither provides enough flexibility, functionality, or seamlessness to be effective. Messaging conversations combine asynchronous and synchronous communication while helping you learn about upcoming life events, little-known preferences, product requests/concerns, and more.

Messaging isn’t just an acceptable way to conduct structured (in-app surveys and canned questions) and unstructured (plain-old listening) interactions. It’s the best way to show an interest in the individual needs of consumers, opening the door for a more trusting relationship and creating a virtuous cycle of service that ultimately improves customer lifetime value.

The only thing left to do is figure out how to build out an owned messaging strategy that will help you create these one-to-one learning relationships. If you’re ready to create meaningful customer conversations, contact us today for a free demo of the Layer messaging platform.