What's a discussion on advertising doing in a column about one-to-one marketing? What will happen to mass media advertising in the impending age of one-to-one? Nothing too drastic—at least not in the near future, anyway. While traditional, unidirectional mass advertising continues to lose ground to dynamic, interactive technologies that solicit customer feedback, three primary reasons challenge the one-to-one marketer to pause and consider how he or she can optimize the one-to-one impact of existing mass media efforts. Customer acquisition, or conquest, will always be with us. Only a few very lucky enterprises will grow as fast as they wish through referrals. Obviously, the retention and growth strategies of one-to-one are rendered totally useless without customers or prospects—to keep and grow. Branding: Mass media vehicles powerfully communicate brand attributes to massive audiences. Doesn't some of the "reward" from owning a Mercedes-Benz or an Armani suit come from your neighbors knowing just how expensive and trendy your new dark blue whatever really is?
Impact is reason number three. Today's most successful one-to-one marketers—at this moment, anyway—remain unable to reach tens of millions of customers on a simultaneous, cost-effective basis. Thus we can count on seeing exciting TV spots for many years to come. While the devoted one-to-one marketer may do so reluctantly, it is nonetheless critically important to use mass advertising as an entry point for one-to-one relationship building. In essence, it is necessary to interact with differentiated customers to accelerate one-to-one relationships in both number and depth.
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