The new level of one-to-one communication

Personalised marketing, today also known as “one-to-one” marketing, is as old as the typical corner shops of our childhood. There, the needs and life stories of the customers were known down to the smallest detail – there, even the assortment was geared to the individual customer. The relationship between the corner shop owner and his customers had to function on so many interpersonal levels, only one of which was the business relationship. For the local brick-and-mortar store, such a relationship-based approach was perfect. It still is. But the reality of modern retail is different.

According to the original one-to-one approach, being able to serve these many personal and multi-layered customer relationships individually as a large retail group or e-commerce is of course not viable. Here, it is more about finding processes and tools that map this personal customer relationship on a virtual level.

The only way for modern marketing and advertising managers to develop such connections effectively is through the wise use of data. Customer connections start with data about the customers themselves – their names, where they live, and basic demographic information such as age and gender. It can also include what they’ve purchased, brands they prefer, and public endorsements on social media. All this data must of course be obtained within the EU within the framework of the provisions of the GDPR and with the consent of the customers. Once this is done, this data is often stored in different databases and this is where a new challenge begins after the data collection.

Data, data everywhere

Company databases are nearly always created separately in response to an immediate need. For example, customer and prospect data are typically stored in a customer relationship management (CRM) system that may or may not include a history of what they bought and when. As one would expect, information about products is stored in a product information management (PIM) system. Pictures, marketing descriptions, and other assets associated with each product are stored in, you guessed it, a digital asset management (DAM) system. The list goes on. Prices, inventory levels, and other data are often stored on separate databases, sometimes by geographic region or other distinction that made perfect sense at the time. The dilemma for marketing and advertising directors is how to mesh all these data sources together to produce an accurate profile of the customer or the customer group in general and the products they are likely to buy.

Once you have that profile, the next step is to create a series of well-designed outputs featuring the products that a customer is known to prefer. These can be printed catalogs, mailers, or flyers, using digital, variable data printing technology to customize each copy that comes off the press. They can also be customized newsletters, emails, or HTML landing pages accessed via personalized URLs or QR Codes. The result is an intentionally customized ad or a promotion that will appeal to the individual customer or, more often, a broader grouping of customers based on their complete data profile.

It’s easier than you think

The promise of one-to-one marketing has been around for many years, dating back to the early days of digital, variable data printing. However, many marketing and IT departments have found it a difficult promise to fulfill. Data sources are often not interconnected, and many are on legacy platforms built for other purposes. The different requirements for print and digital output are also quite different, making it challenging to create a true, multichannel output environment.

Fortunately, the hurdles of one-to-one are easier to manage than you think – provided you have the right platform to do so. There must be a foundation that is both data-driven and designer-friendly to coordinate all of these complex data sources and outputs,. Product pages and their templates must have a direct connection to detailed product data, as selected by the marketing team for a particular campaign, and a connection to individual customer data. But they also must have the tools that let designers do what they do best – tell a visual story featuring a product and how it meets a need. Comosoft’s LAGO system does precisely that.

The beauty of LAGO is that it allows marketing and product line directors to select products based on factors like price, margin, and availability and use a whiteboarding module for visualization. The system knows the information for each product (from the PIM data) and its images, descriptions, and reviews (from the DAM data). Their campaign choices are automatically conveyed to the designers in the form of an InDesign template – with all the relevant PIM and DAM data included. This capability frees the designer from time-consuming searches for data and assets, freeing them to focus on design. But it also does something even more, opening the door to effective one-to-few and even one-to-one marketing. 

Versioning is the key

LAGO’s most notable features is its ability to create multiple, regional or segmented versions easily. Using the base version of a catalog or other promotional piece as a starting point, LAGO outputs multiple versions based on the marketing needs of a region or a unique store. But versioning can be narrowed even further – all the way to the individual level – with Comosoft’s Direct Individualised Marketing (DIM) module.

LAGO DIM streamlines the entire marketing data personalization process. It allows the designer to easily specify an area of the printed page (or the email or landing page) where an individualized product offer should appear. The DIM module then uses customer identification and product preference data to automatically place the appropriate product and pricing for that customer or customer group. Customer-specific addressing and other text personalization are handled automatically as well. The system then populates the entire variable data print run or email campaign. Personalized HTML landing pages featuring the right products for a particular customer or group are also generated automatically, with personalized URLs or QR Codes for accurate response tracking.

Marketing and advertising directors, even those with legacy platforms and martech tools, can finally realize the potential their company’s data using print, email, HTML, or all three. They can finally turn all that data into more effective, one-to-one connections with their customers. With LAGO DIM, it’s much easier than they ever imagined.