One-to-one fluency a must for marketers

Direct marketers have to become fluent in one-to-one communication for their brand to mean something to customers used to social media and online communications, said Christa Carone, chief marketing officer of Xerox Corp. Across media, one-to-one communications have the potential to differentiate any piece of communication, she said, in a keynote speech at the Digital Marketing Days Conference & Expo in New York. Carone ran through several examples, including some from Xerox itself, which she said has now has gone wholeheartedly into the practice.

“We have certainly found religion, when it comes to one-to-one,” she said. The company is now making use of tools such as personalized URLs in its communications and expects to integrate digital communications, social media and other one-to-one channels in a new comprehensive marketing campaign it plans to launch later this year. Xerox and its agencies are mapping what part social and mobile media will play in that effort, which will have “lots of digital” along with traditional media including TV and out-of-home, she said.

Another emerging tool Carone singled out is print-to-web, such as 2D or quick-response barcodes that can unlock additional information on the Web when scanned with a smartphone. Carone showed a prototype of her upcoming business card, which has a 2D barcode leading to more information about her company. She forecast the codes will appear in more direct mail pieces in the future.

But Carone also warned about becoming too enamored with technology that hasn’t proved its potential. Don’t jump into technologies until you see how they fit with the customer’s life, she advised.

Xerox made a big investment in the virtual world Second Life “thinking it was the next biggest thing,” Carone said. “It turns out our customers wanted to have conversations with us in their first life.”

A good one-on-one effort requires much of the same qualities as any good campaign, noted Carone. It must have good customer data, strong creative that drives the point subtly to the receiver, and good follow up and tracking of results, she said.

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