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What is One-To-One Marketing?

By Ken Black
Updated: Feb 07, 2024

One-to-one marketing is a new variation of an old concept, one depending on a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy that focuses on personal interaction and investing in personal communication. While much attention is focused on mass marketing simply because it is so visible, one-to-one marketing, also written as 1:1 marketing, has been showing signs of a resurgence in recent years.

While one-to-one marketing may be a natural fit with person-to-person marketing, that is only one component of the entire strategy. Some companies, such as Amazon for example, are very adept at using these types of marketing concepts to market products. The company does this by tracking what customers have looked at and what they have purchased, then displays products based on that past history.

This type of focused marketing serves a number of important functions. First, it lets the customer know that he or she has been noticed. Second, it provides easy access to the types of products the customer has expressed interest in, thus increasing the chances of sale.

Amazon did not pioneer the one-to-one marketing concept, but rather pioneered its use in a software format. For years, the small retailers always took care of their customers by anticipating orders, even picking orders before the customer ever came through the door. Most good business owners understand that a customer can purchase products, at nearly the same price, from a number of different suppliers or retailers. Given that level of competition, one way suppliers can separate themselves is in the service area. Having those customer interactions and appreciations is key to delivering great customer service.

While a business owner may not put it in exactly these terms, one-to-one marketing depends on data. It must be acquired, stored and utilized. In some cases, this could be through a formal, well organized process. But for many in business, this is accomplished through the course of everyday business and instinctive intuition.

Once the data is collected, one-to-one marketing moves into a promotional phase, where a customer may be profiled in order to more effectively meet his or her needs. While the term profiling has a negative connotation in some situations, this strategy can actually help the customer and supplier by saving time, energy and money.

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Discussion Comments
By comfyshoes — On Mar 28, 2011

@Sunny27 - I also love those ideas. I think that database marketing can also lend itself to one to one communication. I know that a company that has me in their database will offer me a coupon to purchase a free $20 gift in their store on my birthday as sort of a birthday present.

This makes me feel extra special and really creates a lot of good will. When a company goes through these lengths to make me feel special I will remain loyal to them because most companies do not take advantage of this marketing opportunity to also create a bond with their customers.

In addition, when you receive an offer like this you are more likely to spend a lot more than the $20 offered. I also have seen companies offer specific coupons and promotional opportunities to their best customers like a preferred customer event or fashion show.

This is really smart because I have always heard that it costs more money to get new customers than it does to take care of the ones you already have.

By Sunny27 — On Mar 26, 2011

@SauteePan - I know that from my personal sales experience that the more related products that you can show a customer the more products they will eventually buy from you.

This form of marketing online is great because it subtly offers the customer additional options and even allows them to see reviews from the publisher as well as individual customers.

By SauteePan — On Mar 25, 2011

@Subway11 - I also like how Amazon and other online retailers feature additional books purchased by the same customers that bought the book that I am interested in buying.

This gives me more options and allows me buy more books on the subject without having to do a new search. I really enjoy these one to one marketing solutions. It is a wonderful marketing idea.

By subway11 — On Mar 25, 2011

I have to say that I love Amazon’s one to one marketing strategy. I really like how they offer me a list of books that might interest me based on my past purchases.

This really saves a lot of time because buying books can sometimes be overwhelming with all of the choices available. I don’t always remember information from my past purchases and having this data stored on the site really makes shopping easier for me.

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