The Road to the Segment of One

    Steve McGrath | Presales Technical Manager

    Imagine if you could personalise every single marketing communication to every single customer on your database with highly contextual information sent at the right time, to the right channel on the right device. This is the nirvana of automated marketing communications and is sometimes called ‘The Segment of One’.

    Is it possible and how can it be done?

    Marketing communications have historically relied upon a one-to-many approach with most, if not all, customers getting the same message. This method has been quick and easy, and in the early years of marketing communications has been highly effective. As customer’s inboxes/phones/web usage have become more mature (and busy!), this one-to-many approach has become less and less effective. Customers have been turned off, have become generally ignorant or at worst they have unsubscribed from your communications.

    The key to increased metrics in any channel is to provide timely contextual messages to a well segmented database, and this is where the ultimate aim of ‘The Segment of One’ comes in.

    There was an interesting case study on Econsultancy recently, where Standard Life have been going through a process with the intention of becoming a more customer-centric brand and their stated aim is for a ‘Segment of One’. The biggest challenges they faced in the process was data - they had lots of functional data, but not much in the way of transactional or procedural data.

    When it comes to segmentation, both the quality and the quantity of data are vitally important, as it is how that data is referenced to an individual customer. Data truly is the foundation of the customer personalisation house.

    In order to get on the road of segmentation you need to identify, as Standard Life did, exactly who your customers are and how they interact with your brand. Next you need to ensure you are capturing the right data across all the brand touch points, both online and offline. Then ensure you have a way of cross referencing all that data and tying it down to individual customers as much as possible. Many companies, with legacy CRM’s and siloed data stores need to find ways of integrating their data into a ‘single customer view’.

    This is not a quick process, and it will require time, effort and a willingness to invest at board level, but the returns more than make up for the outlay.