In a world where there’s a constant battle for our attention – as people, as employees and as consumers – it’s important to keep in mind that our lives are still dependant on 1:1 relationships. It’s easy to get lost in our work and neglect friends and family, and even though there’s no substitute for quality time with the people who know us best, we try. As humans, we crave and thrive off the energy of social connections and personal interactions, even if they’re with people outside our inner circle.

Think about the things that make up your daily routine, such as getting a morning coffee on the way to work. If you’re like most people, you could stop at any number of coffee shops between home and the office – but you usually stop at the same one. Why? For a lot of us, it comes down to service and personalization. If you go into a Starbucks every morning for two months, there’s a good chance the baristas will develop some sort of rapport with you. Maybe they’ll remember your order and what time you come in, or perhaps it’s just a smile and a nod of recognition every morning.

These fleeting moments seem so minuscule, yet they are scientifically proven to make us happier. We need these interactions, which is why – even if it’s subconsciously – our coffee shop of choice is likely to be the one where we feel most connected to the employees (which has nothing to do with the coffee).

In a similar example, a co-worker was recently telling a story about the poor customer service he received at his home bank branch and how, because of the incident, he switched locations. It’s about the people.

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With so much content focused on tips, tricks and hacks, and numerous tools begging to be used, marketers often forget the power of a simple human connection (or a very obvious lack of connection). Here are a few examples of the untapped benefits of 1:1 marketing (also known as the reasons you should consider it for your strategy):

A Little Effort Goes A Long Way

In the coffee shop example, we’re not talking about the baristas giving up a kidney or taking a bullet to make customers happy. In fact, there’s no sacrifice involved, unless you consider the willingness and effort to make a real connection at the crack of dawn (yes mornings suck, but come on!).

All kidding aside, marketers should be (and the good ones are) appealing to human emotions at the core of their strategies. Whether it’s a quick and colorful response via social media, a genuinely happy receptionist or going the extra mile in some other way, always be on the lookout for simple ways to get personal with your clients or customers.

Get Closer Than You Think You Can

I read a blog post the other day titled “Is Personalization Creepy?” that made some very good points and was clearly in favor of marketing personalization. However, I couldn’t help but focus on how slanted the title was toward the negative. If marketers never even entertain the idea that personalization is creepy, then it won’t be creepy.

The viral videos of WestJet’s Christmas Miracles are a perfect example of how personalization is the opposite of creepy if it’s truly genuine. Watch this and decide for yourself if anybody looks weirded out by a sense of giving, generosity and Christmas spirit:

WestJet Christmas Miracle

Sure, there was probably an internal discussion at WestJet about whether people would participate, would it work, was it too personal, etc. But at the end of the day they took a risk which resulted in a very strong, personal connection with not only hundreds of travellers, but also millions of people who watched and shared the video.

1:1 Relationships Are Good For Everybody

In the past, we’ve talked about how something as simple as handwriting a thank-you note is energizing and inspiring – for both parties. And the same is true for the relationship between brand and consumer in 1:1 marketing.

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In the WestJet example, the employees who worked so hard to find, buy and wrap the presents before the flights landed probably felt amazing to watch people’s shocked faces as they received the very items they asked for hours earlier. These were very real human connections that, in the moment, had nothing to do with marketing.

And that’s really the crux of 1:1 marketing: it shouldn’t be pushy, salesy or anything that remotely resembles selling. It’s about people connecting over something they have in common; one has a problem, the other the solution.

Take Advantage Of 1:1 Marketing

When done correctly – that is, from the heart – 1:1 marketing has enormous potential to help your business or brand. It’s also the way of the future, as we discussed in last year’s mobile marketing whitepaper. But before you move on to mastering the art of technology and personalization, make it a goal to elevate the levels of human connection in your marketing and customer service.

About Cheryl Baldwin

Cheryl Baldwin, Director of Marketing Communications at WSI, oversees WSI’s Marketing Department. She’s an integral part of the WSI’s global brand presence and corporate identity.