One Plus One Forever

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One-to-one is yesterday, according to direct marketing legend Stan Rapp, who holds that engagement is but the first step to the ultimate goal: entanglement.

Stan Rapp began his talk at the 2016 Marketing&Tech Innovation Summit with a photo of revelers celebrating the dawning of a new century on Times Square on January 1, 2000. Cofounder of the legendary direct marketing agency Rapp Collins Worldwide in the 1960s, Rapp has a long view of data-driven marketing—with and without cloud computing—so while he effused over all the technological toys at the marketer's disposal here in the 21st Century, he cautioned attendees about putting them to work on the proper mission.

“What marketers can do with technology today is absolutely amazing, but it's easy to get sidetracked. Everybody is focused on customer engagement, but we need to move beyond engagement and look at how much more is possible,” he counseled.

Rapp himself looked to particle physics to discover “entangled marketing,” the concept he views as the inspiration for the business model of  the 21st Century and the title of a new book on the subject he coauthored with Vertic CEO Sebastian Jesperson. “There's a concept in quantum physics where two particles can be entangled. One can be here and one can be on the moon, yet what happens to one happens to the other,” Rapp said. “Just as entanglement shook up the world of physics in the past century, so will t entanglement be the dominant force in marketing going forward.”

One-to-one marketing is yesterday, said the man who's known many yesterdays in the marketing business. One plus one is the future, and is already being wielded as the primary weapon of such dominant 21st century names as Amazon, Apple, and Google, Rapp said. He noted that Jeff Bezos's mission statement for Amazon mentioned “entangling the brand in a person's every waking moment.”

Though it may help, being the world's most dominant online retailer or search engine is not necessary to work a winning entanglement strategy. “It doesn't have to be that complicated. It's not always a data answer to the problem,” Rapp said, using as an example New York City's Benjamin Hotel, which identified giving business travelers a good night's sleep as its core competency and hired sleep therapists to design a program that includes a pillow menu and a customized relaxation program.

Rapped called out Chick-fil-A for an example of entanglement marketing that capitalized on mobile devices and social media. Its Furry Animal Sleepover invites customers with young children to come in for dinner one night along with each child's favorite stuffed animals. The kids are encouraged to leave their plush pals in the restaurant overnight for a sleepover, and when they get home, Chick-fil-A staffers text them pictures of the stuffed toys playing together. When they return for breakfast in the morning to retrieve their animals, the dining area is lined with pictures from the sleepover.

“Buyer and seller can be bound at the hip in creating a relationship that's good for both,” Rapp said. “It's not about tricking anyone, it's about providing a reason why it makes sense for the consumer to want to be entangled.”

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