By David Williams

Market to known individuals instead of unknown personas. For years, this has been what brands hoped for—but couldn’t achieve—from their digital marketing. Now we’re finally at the point where aspiration is becoming reality.

It’s not just about doing “good” programmatic, or email or search. It’s about mastering highly targeted, effective, personalized marketing, driven by insights that are informed by a robust customer database. It’s about delivering those messages throughout the customer life cycle and across the entire spectrum of media and channels. It’s about applying the same level of intelligence to creating an inbound experience that we have been using to create outbound experiences for years.

It’s people-based marketing.

Delight through meaningful experiences

The objective of people-based marketing, in a nutshell, is to develop lasting and valuable relationships with customers by creating consistent, meaningful, personalized experiences that delight them at every turn.

So let’s say you’ve identified David Williams as a target for a specific offer. When I visit your website, I should see the same offer that you emailed to me, or that you served up on my Facebook feed or in the display ad that drove me to your site in the first place. In outbound, your focus is on the targeting. In inbound, your focus is on real-time decisioning. Personalization is what crosses both so they work in concert to orchestrate journeys that will optimize the value of your relationship with me.

This is a simple concept that can be challenging to execute. Many companies find success with one tactic and pour their resources into that channel or medium. For example, they may have an engaging website, but if they’re not optimizing the media to drive traffic to the site, it’s not performing to its full potential. Instead, they need to use the same core base of intelligence in every inbound, outbound, online and offline interaction, over time.

This seamless experience is only possible if you integrate campaign tactics and the data that informs them. How do you make it happen?

The people-based marketing trifecta

There are three imperatives for success in activating your people-based marketing strategy, each informed by a 360-degree view of the customer. I call it the trifecta of people-based marketing:

1. Make your advertising more addressable: Create campaigns that capitalize on the opportunities that today’s media platforms provide for targeting customers one-to-one, efficiently and at scale.

2. Make your experiences more personal: Manage inbound channel interactions, using the decisioning power of cutting-edge technology to deliver moments that are more personally meaningful to the customer.

3. Manage your customer relationships over time: Link inbound and outbound customer experiences over time, using modern CRM and loyalty programs to understand lifetime customer value and optimize marketing investment.

We explore these important challenges in the sixth installment in Merkle’s Marketing Imperatives series: The Activation of People-Based Marketing. It lays the groundwork for establishing an enterprise customer strategy: First, it explores the fundamentals of addressable advertising and personalized experiences and the importance of making each moment relevant to the individual. Second, it discusses the crucial element of managing customer relationships over time to build value for the business and the customer.

Success in people-based marketing requires understanding these imperatives, embracing their call and persisting in every effort to make them a reality. I am convinced that those who do will win, with customer loyalty, shareholder value and competitive advantage as the rewards.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s