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Making a Marketing Shift: From One-to-Many to One-to-One

Personalized experiences are about delivering contextually relevant experiences to your prospects and customers, based on what you know about them, where they are in the purchase journey, and what they are looking to achieve. It is becoming more evident that marketers who consistently deliver personalized cross-channel experiences are seeing moderate to substantial conversion improvements.


A one-to-many approach means most of a brand’s prospects and customers will have the same experience and receive similar messaging and offers. This is typically the sign of a brand that manages customer relationships and marketing from an inside-out perspective. This type of marketing is based on the limitations of a siloed operational structure, which doesn’t necessarily reflect the way that customers buy. In a one-to-many scenario, an organization’s customer data is held in numerous silos across the business, with minimal linkage, thereby preventing the brand from delivering any sort of integrated, consistent, or truly personalized online and offline experience to its customers.

For customers, this approach feels very mass-produced, impersonal, and much like Groundhog Day. People will likely always be first-time customers to the brand until they aren’t a customer at all.


A one-to-one relationship means that you can deliver highly personalized experiences to customers, leveraging integrated first-, second-, and third-party data sources across every channel. This is the sign that you are starting with the customer at the center of the business, marketing, and sales strategy. You are learning from all customer interactions, preferences, and past experiences, to predict and guide the next best experience for customers at an individual level. While it is not easy to achieve, companies and brands that can attain this level of CX maturity are rewarded with brand love, loyalty, and consistent incremental revenue growth.

Brands achieving one-to-one marketing have captured an increasing share-of-wallet, built great customer lifetime value, and provide fantastic, relevant experiences for their customers.

Where do you start?

Getting to a one-to-one approach isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, as it’s an ongoing effort with no end date. Here are some best practices to get you on the right path:

• Don’t attempt to do everything at once out of the gate. You’ll end up overreaching and underdelivering.

• Successful activation of multi-channel personalized experiences requires a strategic roadmap, clear goals, and success criteria to measure progress.

• Build your strategic roadmap with your customers’ journey at the center and work outward from there. Otherwise, you will stay trapped in an inside-out model, where you’re marketing is based on the way your company is organized, not how your customer purchases.

• Activating more progressively personalized experiences will require an integrated data strategy and platforms that can feed your customer experience activation layer.

• Employ an agile release framework coupled with test-and-learn cycles to continually deliver personalized experiences across your key marketing channels.

• Measure results in real time, fail fast, and celebrate your wins.

Want to learn more? Check out Merkle’s Q3 2019 Customer Engagement Report full of cross-industry analysis of marketing statistics and trends in addition to articles and case studies to help you make better business decisions.