Personalized Marketing: The Know-How Of One-On-One Marketing

by Sachin

One of the core business-building activities is marketing. A cornerstone of marketing, if done correctly, personalized marketing can build a loyal and valuable customer base for your business.   

One-on-one marketing, or as some call it relationship marketing or customer relationship management, is quite simple in theory. The idea is to listen to an individual customer, understand what they want from you, and, based on what you know about them, change your behavior accordingly.

It’s simple in theory, but what about its implementation. In short, it’s anything but simple, and the mechanisms are complex. The mistake most companies make when implementing one-on-one marketing is to go headfirst without any proper preparation. It needs another level of expertise to analyze, track, and communicate with a customer and then reform a product/service according to customers’ needs. Even if it’s tough to implement, the benefits of one-to-one marketing are plenty and usually worth the hassle.

The Reason for One-On-One Marketing

One-on-one marketing is a long-term marketing strategy. It is based on the intention of establishing a meaningful relationship with the customer base. Before you undertake a one-on-one initiative, you need to understand the reason behind its implementation and the basic segments of it.

As mentioned above, it means, having a learning relationship with each of your customers. Every interaction creates a smarter database of your customers’ needs and wants regarding your product/service. Hence every interaction can be the reason to modify your product/service to make it better in your customers’ eyes. A modified product will hold your customers’ interest, and no competitor can replace your customers feeling of being heard.

Even if a competitor can, later on, entice your customer with the same customization, you would still be well ahead with the knowledge gained from smart learning.

There are four basic segments or steps of personalized marketing for it to work – identify customers, differentiation of customers, interaction with customers, and the last step is to modify or customize your product/service to each customer’s needs.

Identify Customers

The first step of one-on-one marketing is to commence a program to identify valuable customers to your business. You will need to come up with a substantial amount of your valuable customers on the list and contact them directly.

It’s important to contact customers who are willing to take part in one-on-one marketing and share as much detail about themselves as possible. It’s not just names, addresses, or phone numbers that are important, but it’s crucial to know about their habits and preferences. Make sure your customer is aware of the depth of the details they need to share before they sign up for the marketing analysis.

After choosing and collecting the data of the customers, you need to understand how their characteristics and preferences align with every product in your company from every vantage point in every medium and location.

This isn’t limited only to your customers; you can apply this same principle in understanding your suppliers or channel members in your demand chain to create better relationships with them.

Differentiation Of Customers

Data and information are of no use if we don’t categorize it to our advantage. The job doesn’t end after identifying customer needs. We need to understand their differences as well.

Customers are different in two ways – they have different values and different needs. The differentiation of customers will help you focus better on each group of customers according to their needs and values.

One of the main reasons to differentiate customers is to appropriately alter and accommodate the company’s behavior and response to each customer according to their needs and values in every business situation. This customized behavior will, in turn, display a positive image of the company.

Interaction With Customers

To keep the one-on-one marketing viable, the interactions with customers need to be cost-effective and efficient. This is another crucial component of the program.

How can we increase our cost-effectiveness and effectiveness strategically to gain long-term positive results?  

One way to increase cost-efficiency is to direct customer interactions towards a more automated channel rather than a human one. Websites are the best example of this. A customer can find any information they need from a website if it’s up-to-date and helpful in details. This is, of course, less expensive than a dedicated human employer responsible for providing information to each inquiry or interaction.

The effectiveness of the implementation of one-on-one marketing depends on generating relevant information at the right time. The information is to provide an accurate acumen about the customers’ needs or their values. Each interaction with a customer should be kept safe and the customers’ needs or values analyzed based on it. Any further interactions in the future with the said customer should be based on the data collected from previous interactions to create a tailored response from the company.

Customized Products/Services

Meeting the needs of your customers is one of the most important parts of the one-on-one marketing program. If a customer does not see any change in the product/service according to their preferences, it will be hard to lock them down in a learning relationship. Therefore, customization of products/services to a customer’s individually suggested needs is the last straw for a successful personalized marketing program.

Customization might mean a mass-change in a manufactured product, for example, change the look of a bottle or the color of the package. A subtle yet highly valuable customization approach can be done through packaging. Designing special packaging that caters to a client’s preference or demands can create an opportunity to engage. Customized or personalized packaging is a great way to directly address specific points that clients are attuned to, further building up a relationship required to touch base with customers.

In terms of service, customization might mean changing the approach of the service for each individual customer based on what was learned through interactions of sales, marketing, after-sales services, or any other department.

One-on-one marketing is not complete without the fourth step as a lot of businesses forget to implement the knowledge they gained properly through learning relationships in an attempt to reap the rewards quickly.


The four steps of one-on-one marketing might overlap and be a bit confusing for a business that is used to traditional approaches to marketing. The first two steps are basically an internal analysis, and the last two are external action steps.

But, with the increased complexity comes an increased benefit. Many businesses give up creating a personalized marketing program even before they begin as they see the goal unattainable. To make the goal attainable, rather than launching a full-program, start small with baby steps to solve the puzzles in each step of the program. Each step will hurl challenges, but they are worth the difficulty as it comes with the long-term benefits and positive reputation of the business.


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