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Add One-to-One Services -- Sherburne

April 2009
HAVE YOU added one-to-one communications or variable data printing to your portfolio of offerings yet? Although we have been talking about variable data printing as a value-added service for a decade now, adoption rates have been slower than the pundits projected. But that all seems poised to change.

With the economy in disarray, marketers of all types are scrambling to find the most cost-effective—yet still effective—means of communicating with their customers. According to customer loyalty guru Frederick Reichheld, it can cost five times as much to acquire a new client as it does to grow an existing one. Marketers want to protect one of their most valuable assets—the existing customer—and grow their share of wallet to take advantage of these dynamics.

In its 2008 Marketing Outlook, the CMO Council reported that quantifying and measuring the value of marketing programs and investments remained the top challenge for marketers that year. -Other key priorities included growing customer knowledge, insight and conversations, as well as upgrading the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing groups. While the Council’s 2009 Marketing Outlook has not yet been published, it is likely that these priorities will remain roughly the same for most marketers.

If you offer one-to-one communications services and, better yet, offer those services across multiple media, ranging from print to e-mail, Web, SMS and more, you are in a position to help marketers with all three of these priorities. By incorporating e-mail and the Web into the customer communications mix, performance of marketing programs can be measured in real time, and rapidly adjusted as appropriate for optimum results. Multichannel marketing programs also help marketers learn more about customers as they build an ongoing dialog with them through these programs. Finally, these programs contribute to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of marketing.

Data Integration Is key

But what about the data, you might ask? Isn’t it true that most companies don’t have accurate data or enough data about clients? This has been one reason for the slow uptake in variable data volumes. 

But, according to 1to1 media, a division of Peppers & Rogers Group, this situation is changing rapidly. In a recent 1to1 in Action white paper, “Panning for Gold,” the firm reports: “Crafting fact-based marketing, sales and service strategies using insight gleaned from customer data is one way companies are gaining a competitive advantage today…Fortunately, as the number and quality of the -avenues for tracking and collecting data increase, so do the technologies needed to make sense of all of the customer information available to companies today.”

 

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