Pro Tip

5 Ways to Grow Customer Loyalty With One-to-One Marketing

Getty Images / Yuichiro Chino

When your company chooses to pursue one-to-one marketing, a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy that takes personalization down to the level of the individual consumer, you're creating opportunities for deeper customer loyalty. Handling the shift to one-to-one marketing correctly, though, is crucial to get the return on marketing investment that you want to achieve.

Take a look at what one-to-one marketing is and what it can accomplish, and then review some tips for improving your one-to-one efforts that can boost your ROMI numbers.

Why One-to-One Marketing Is of Value

When one-to-one marketing is rolled out strategically, it allows for deep connections between your brand and your customers. One-to-one marketing uses your knowledge about individual customers to tweak your marketing (or even your products) to highlight the ways in which you meet those customers' needs.

You can implement one-to-one marketing through a wide variety of channels, whether you focus on direct mail, website personalization, or other points of customer interaction. This type of relationship marketing relies on constant improvement at every stage of the process. The more you learn about your customer, the more you're able to modify your marketing and products to fit the customer. When the process is successful, customers stick with your brand even when your competitors are offering similar customization, simply because it's more convenient and more satisfying to do so.

Implementation of one-to-one marketing doesn't have to involve a complete overhaul of all your marketing strategies. Instead, you can roll it out in a limited way, testing and honing your own processes before you launch them across your entire brand. Consider these five tips for successfully implementing one-to-one marketing in your own company.

1. Gather Marketing Data During Every Interaction

Every time you interact with a customer, you have the opportunity to gather more data about that person. Whether the customer speaks to one of your sales reps in person or on the phone, communicates with a chatbot, or clicks "like" on one of your social media posts, you can collect helpful information that can guide you in your one-to-one marketing efforts. When you set up systems that effectively generate this kind of valuable, relevant data, you can understand your customer's needs and how to meet them a little better.

2. Don't Overlook Print Media

It's all too easy to think all-digital when you plan your one-to-one marketing campaign. After all, software exists to make it easy to personalize landing pages for your website and even marketing emails. But don't forget about tried-and-true print media, especially in this age where far too many customers trash marketing emails without even opening them. When you send customers personalized direct mail that includes special bonuses that you already know they'll appreciate (because of all that data you've collected), you're sending them something of value — which means it's worth opening.

As you dive into customizing your print media, take advantage of the opportunities to link customers back to your website through QR codes and personalized coupons or other offers that your customers will see as valuable. Think about the way the Kroger grocery chain sends its loyalty club members regular batches of coupons based on previous purchase data, as well as customized magazines featuring recipes using products that each customer buys regularly. Kroger's direct mail initiatives have helped keep customers loyal, which in turn keeps the brand ahead of its competition.

When one-to-one marketing is rolled out strategically, it allows for deep connections between your brand and your customers.

3. Address Your Customers by Name

This tactic goes back to the beginnings of personalized marketing, but it's an important one to remember. And it's an easy one to implement, relatively speaking, since the accurate name of each of your customers (with the correct spelling) should certainly be part of the information you've been gathering. The power of a customer's name was recently highlighted in Coca-Cola's outreach to Millennial customers.

When Coke started labeling individual bottles of the soft drink with 800 different names, drawing from the most popular names in the Millennial generation, they saw the first year-over-year increase in sales that the brand had experienced in four years. The marketing strategy was so successful that Coke expanded it to include relationship labels ("best friend") and last names.

4. Respond to Customers Personally

If your follow-up with customers isn't as personalized as your outreach marketing efforts, you may damage the bonds you're beginning to build. Part of your personalized marketing strategy, especially on social media, should involve having real people respond to customers (and prospective customers) in real time.

Yes, it's tempting to turn the entire interchange over to automation, and it's often more cost-effective to do so. But at the very least, be prepared to escalate a back-and-forth between your brand and any customer to a real person based on certain triggers.

In addition, have real people monitor all your social media channels and respond in person as appropriate (and yes, that includes over the weekends, when many of your prospective customers may be doing their shopping).

5. Provide Personalized Recommendations

Every Amazon customer has had the experience of logging on to the site and receiving personalized recommendations based on previous purchases. Individual customers might get suggestions for Father's Day gifts, recommended content to stream from Amazon Prime for a cozy night at home, or recommended purchases that complement items that Amazon knows the buyer already owns.

You don't have to be an online sales giant the size of Amazon to put this technique to work. To take advantage of smart recommendations, step back from your individual customer data to look at groups, whether you're segmenting them by age, location, purchase history, or other factors impacting your customer personas. Once you know what members of a market segment are likely to purchase, you can expand your customers' orders by making smart suggestions that will remind them of items they need or encourage them to make impulse buys.

When you connect with customers through one-to-one marketing, you break down the barriers that keep them from completing purchases and help them to build bonds of loyalty with your brand. Creating a unique customer experience can lead to increased ROMI while paving the way for future interactions with your customers.