Historically, marketing was all about reaching the largest audience possible with the same experience. To achieve this, the mass marketers of the past successfully employed such tactics as TV ads, print ads, and billboards.
When the internet arrived, a new dream of individualized marketing came with it. In the early 1990s, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. published the landmark book The One to One Future, in which they predicted that “using new media of the one-to-one future, you will be able to communicate directly with consumers, individually, rather than shouting at them, in groups.” Unfortunately, technology didn’t allow for this quite yet. Each online experience was the same, just as it was for a television or print ad.
Now, over two decades later, the technology finally exists to deliver individualized experiences. Netflix and Spotify recommend what we should watch and listen to based on our preferences. E-commerce sites do the same, and help us make shopping online quick and efficient. By learning about us as we use their services, today’s businesses can deliver relevant and engaging digital experiences.
Beyond these common examples of digital personalization, there are also many more subtle ways marketers are delivering relevant experiences today across websites, mobile apps, email campaigns, online chat, and digital ads — along with in-person channels like stores or branch locations.
Marketers are finally able to speak to their customers and prospects as the unique individuals they are — they no longer need to “shout at them in groups.” This is a hugely exciting paradigm shift for marketers and consumers alike.