Bridge the Gap Between Online and Off-line Customer Profiling (
by Mark T. Hesler
In targeted and one-to-one marketing today, the conversation always revolves around a few subjects.
Mass customization is one of the main mantras. Companies are being compelled today to engage customers in unprecedented levels of personalization. The rise of the Internet as a viable marketing and sales channel raises the bar even higher.
Companies that succeed will do so because they've done a better job of understanding and integrating their customers' buying habits and preferences across multiple channels. This will become increasingly important as customers shift back and forth between traditional marketing channels to Web-based activities.
Some very exciting technology solutions are available today to assist marketers in this arena. These technologies let marketers profile customers and personalize content delivery online in real time. This sophisticated targeting technology is creating a buzz, and a recent Jupiter Communications study gives the leading online "suggestive selling" techniques very high grades.
In that study, Jupiter concluded that investments by marketers in technologies supporting online, real-time "suggestive selling," such as collaborative filtering, can have substantial rewards. These rewards can generate payback periods of fewer than 12 months with an ROI that may reach up to 300 percent. For any direct marketer familiar with the power of accurate customer profiling and data-driven personalization and targeting, these results should not be surprising.
Successful mass customization in traditional direct marketing and e-marketing takes the same steps. As consumers increasingly add the Internet into their daily decision-support and purchase-transaction activities, the real challenge becomes first recognizing, accurately profiling and then communicating in a highly personalized manner, regardless of channel. For multichannel marketers to do this most effectively, they need to link back customer e-mail addresses with traditional name/address to create a full marketing profile (including traditional demographics and purchase behavior).