3GoodEven if it seems we are talking about ‘one-to-one marketing’ for ages, it is often still not implemented properly in practice. On the contrary, we still see a lot of mass-marketing, with little thought about whether the advertising message is significant or how it affects customers, who in turn simply brush meaningless marketing activities off. Well, there are three main reasons for this development:

1. Product-oriented business models

Many companies focus primarily on their products, not on their customers. The way in which new products are developed, manufactured and marketed is based on internal quarterly specifications, reinforcing the product-oriented approach. As a result, the marketing department spreads exactly the message on the product the company wants to sell and not necessarily something the customer needs or wants to buy. Customer-oriented marketing is fundamentally different in that sense that it aims at meeting the needs of customers and solving their problems, thereby boosting the company's sales and profit margins.

2. Bombarding customers is easy, providing relevant marketing isn’t

It seems as if automation solutions in marketing are both "too easy" and "too heavy".  "Too easy" implies that it is too easy to release a flood of marketing messages on the customers and accept a 2% conversion rate for that. But how does the advertising affect the remaining 98% of the recipients who have not responded as desired?

"Too hard" means that many marketing specialists are struggling to start as many advertising campaigns as the management would like to see. Imagine a retailer sending out five or more emails a week in addition to other ads in other media. To create such a volume of campaigns every week is already a difficult task and leads to the fact that the extra effort, which is necessary to precisely formulate the advertising messages, falls behind. Many marketing people have the feeling that they are trapped in a hamster wheel, which means knowing they are doing the "wrong" thing, but if the sales numbers are good, it is hard to stop, because the next campaign is already long overdue.

3. Marketing programs do not work in vacuums

Most companies have distributed their marketing activities to independent teams: There is a dedicated team for email marketing, direct marketing, product marketing, online or billboard advertising, call centers, and so on, so that a cumulative effect the marketing measures easily falls behind: However, product marketing influences the reactions to advertising in another media as well, emails influence the calls in the call center, and so on. Most marketing studies always point to the positive effects of cross-media advertising, and they have successfully demonstrated that the repetition of advertising messages has a multiplication effect in all media. However, to understand this effect, the negative effects must also be considered when, in some cases, more advertising slows sales and leads customers to unsubscribe or ignore them. This means that the marketing experts must measure the cross-channel effects to understand their true impact on the customer, because when a customer is fed up with advertising for a product, he will almost always unsubscribe or ignore it in all media.

CMOs need to address these three problem areas that have at the core the tricky topic of data analysis, which many of them like to ignore. But the point of view of marketing must change fundamentally here: Marketing must be experience-oriented, put the customer forward, and recognize that their own product should offer a pleasant experience. Not to mention that the way how to communicate with customers is an essential component of this product experience.

Getting a 360-degree view of the customers is the first step to solve some of these permanent problems. It’s the start of understanding the customer journey, from the first contact as anonymous visitor to a well-known customer, recognizable thanks to various emails and cookie data from the website and in social networks. This results in a solid data base for marketing professionals to measure what works and what doesn’t. It also provides the marketing departments with the data they need for relevant advertising messages.

By Daniela La Marca