Telephone marketing is the purest form of marketing. It is the only channel that allows you to get real-time feedback from consumers and a yes/no answer after each transaction. The phone is also the best place to utilize business intelligence to craft a customized message and to truly have one-to-one marketing. It is a complex but rewarding technique for focusing on people who fit a demographic profile and matching an offer tailored specifically to them.
“One-to-one marketing is simply custom tailoring offers to customers based on their wants or buying profile,” says Ken Dawson, chief marketing officer at InfoCision Management Corp. “It is the exact opposite of mass marketing, like on TV, where the same message is beamed to a wide assortment of people with no regard for preference, demographics and behaviors.
“It works with anything you sell. Outbound, you can avoid targeting people who never will respond or modeling to create a prospect list. Inbound, you can use targeted messaging to up-sell or cross-sell. It works for all kinds of products and services.”
Smart Business asked Dawson more about targeted messaging or one-to-one marketing.
What are some of the key demographics when targeting a message?
The best way is to look at past customer experience with your organization and overlay that data with demographics. That lets you tailor a message that will spur customers to buy.
Take a service such as cable TV: If a customer pays a year in advance with a 20-percent discount offer, it is much more likely the customer will not respond for a renewal at full price. Give the customer what he or she wants.
There is consumer-level data available on every household in the United States — all 110 million of them. They are expensive to buy, but those databases offer demographics, psychographics, buying behaviors and sometimes even credit scores. This gives the marketer a look at the customer’s income, profession, hobbies and buying behaviors. For example, you can determine that a person of a certain age and professional status who reads certain publications is more likely to donate to a conservative cause. It allows you to focus oneto-one on things that he or she is interested in.
Once you have the data, what then?
When you have your message or new product, determine a demographic profile for your past customers. This allows you to create a model prospect. This process will allow certain data points to come forward and you can measure the frequency that each demographic point exists.
Then, pull in everyone from the prospect universe who is within certain parameters of that model customer. Even with existing customers, you can draw a profile and cross-reference who is likely to buy accessories. All prospects can be scored based on how well they match your model.
This propensity to purchase is what makes the phone so much better than mass media. With the flexibility of a one-on-one sales pitch, you can communicate with customers based on their needs.
Take two people who respond with an inbound call to the call center and purchase a cell phone. The next step is to up-sell them peripherals. Based on their profile, you might offer a car charger, a docking station or a headset to go with their cell phone. In a perfect world, that offer is populated on the screen and can be changed in real time, depending on the customer’s needs or desires. Again, each offer is driven by the model and what is known about the consumer.
How do you get good business intelligence?
The best way to get business intelligence is to have a well-maintained base of your own customers. Buy a CRM (customer relationship management) system and maintain and update the database religiously.
When prospecting for new customers, several U.S. companies gather data points and sell them to companies that want to target a new market. You can lease or rent that information. An advantage to having a partner like us is that we have a standard subscription to many of these databases. Our clients have access to the information, but the cost is amortized across all of our clients, so the price is more reasonable.
Are there pitfalls?
Inaccurate data or broad assumptions are the most dangerous aspects of true one-to-one marketing. Don’t try to force customers into a class based on what you want them to buy. Let the data speak for itself.
Give customers what they want to buy and let them buy it the way they want.
KEN DAWSON is chief marketing officer at InfoCision Management Corp., Akron. Founded in 1982, InfoCision is a privately held teleservices company and is a leading provider of inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, commercial, religious and political organizations. Reach Dawson at (330) 668-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.