Don Peppers and Martha Rogers gave birth to the concept of 1 to 1 Marketing over 15 years ago. The brilliant marketing innovation is intended to “illustrate the importance of treating different customers differently. (from their website).
From a practitioners viewpoint, 1 to 1 has also been difficult to execute while attaining measurable ROI. “Mass customization” has been the closest application of the general idea that most marketers have achieved.
In my opinion, Web 2.0 communication tools including social networking platforms finally open the door to communicate with consumers on an individual level without breaking the bank, but a big question remains: how do we gain insight into the customer preferences that drive purchase decisions?
- Yes, you can survey, but the process does not invite accuracy unless carried out within a permission driven environment
- Focus groups are not conducive to promote a diversity of opinions shared with full transparency
- Satisfaction surveys are pretty window dressing that don’t serve as reliable predictors of future purchase behavior
- And NO, there is not just one question that can be asked to determine future customer loyalty
A conversation with a friend provided an example of how bundled preferences can become a purchase-decision reality.
Marketers try so hard to collect and understand personal preferences through qualitative surveys. And, after all the work and investment, we find the behavioral data contradicts survey results on many occasions.
How can we re-engineer our methods of collecting attitudinal data from consumers to achieve better results?
- Could we use social media to encourage people to outline their “dream ticket” of one-stop shopping for grocery, fuel, or mobile phone service?
- Could we create a member community that provides value to Elite level collectors and opens the door to collaborative conversation?
- Could we employ location based marketing and social sites like Foursquare to generate “instant” surveys on favorite haunts?
If we changed our approach to consumer research, what might we find?
Keep asking questions across your customer base and listen more diligently.
The answers will come clear in time.