For many years the industry has talked about one-to-one marketing. I’ve said for year’s that’s an unrealistic expectation. To target on a one-to-one basis requires customized messaging based on a multitude of inputs that are changing rapidly. The development of a true one-to-one effort would require a massive investment in technology and an unwavering trust in that technology. While I do trust the technology and while I do think an investment is warranted, I would argue that investment should be made against “group-based” segment targeting rather than one-to-one, with a mind toward the maximum ROI for that investment.
There are significant commonalities to be made between groups of people, and those commonalities are able to provide you with the required insight necessary to personalize messages and see an appreciable ROI. Segment targeting rather than one-to-one is entirely achievable and scalable — and it works.
The problem is, some marketers profess to want to go too far and get too segmented, inevitably aiming for an audience that is too granular and requires too much investment to achieve results. There is a point of diminishing returns at which the investment is no longer warranted and the expectations are simply too high.
On the flip side, not shooting for some level of targeting is marketing malfeasance.
With the sheer volume of media barraging consumers on a daily basis, to opt out of targeting in some way is like throwing your cash into a burning fire. Clutter has desensitized the audience and general, untargeted, impersonal messaging gets lost. No amount of reach and frequency can work in the sea of messaging we currently operate within.
Your individual strategy requires you to determine the economic investment you should be making. The best criteria to use would be the size of the audience universe you’re speaking to, in combination with the budget you have to work with, crossed by the type of media you’re looking to use, and the competitive clutter in that media format.
For example, you might have to make a larger investment in a mobile effort than for a desktop or a TV campaign, because the mobile environment might be rather cluttered and the format is smaller, with more difficulty in garnering the attention of the audience. The investment might require more if you’re doing a short burst vs. a slow-burn, long-term campaign where frequency against a targeted audience might be very effective.
Targeting may be a buzzword, but strategy is the driver of whether the buzz is warranted. Take the time to determine the investment you require to be successful. Don’t just read an article and let someone else be your judge of strategy — even if that person is me.