Make one-to-one the way to advertise

The capacity for one-to-one digital marketing is continuing to grow and this week it seems everyone’s jumping onto the bandwagon.

From O2 launching its O2 More service, offering customers the opportunity to receive personalised mobile ads, to Simon Cowell announcing moves to create a video-on-demand version of The X Factor from Las Vegas – online has been a big talking point this week.

It does seem like everyone wants a slice of the digital pie, and this should be encouraged. Yet, marketers must indulge in this desire with extreme caution, for as history has taught us, even the smallest mistake can cost dear in the long run.

O2 appears to have taken the right tack with this. It hasn’t gone out all-guns-blazing with the launch of O2 More, but is gently inviting consumers to register to receive the offers based on their preferences.

This tact has helped them win over media agencies and brands. On launch, it has 50 brands already willing to sign up to the service, knowing that they will be talking to customers who want to hear from them and not blasting out a message that could otherwise be hit and miss.

As O2 Media’s managing director, Shaun Gregory, put it to me: “There’s no need to go out and shout a message, if you know that you have the right channels in place to get the response you need first time.”

What’s extraordinary about this approach is it seems to be hitting the pause button on the interruptive ads that so many find disturbing about online. If all goes well, it could even be the formula to be the stop button – breaking the way for digital to be the prime means of engagement for advertisers.

It’s already intriguing to see that both of Saturday night’s primetime shows – Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor – have their online chat and debate functionalities plugged in the scripts. The reality of digital multitasking is beginning to hit home and the importance of putting the consumer in the driving seat is becoming the norm.

So, is that it for digital marketing? Not even close. The challenge of proper accountability and responsibility for the new form of one-to-one marketing still lurks around the corner.

It’s refreshing that ISBA’s new chair of the ISBA Digital Action Group, The Post Office’s digital sales & marketing manager, Alex Tait, recognises this need.

“There are a lot of really significant developments happening in digital right now and marketers need to be right at the heart of those debates,” he says.  Well put.

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