I’d get rid of the concept of ‘campaigns’, which are inherently not related to individual customers. Instead I’d organize around finding the right message for each individual at the right time, with “right” being defined as “the message that yields the greatest long-term return on investment for the company.” That may sound a bit crass, since we all like to talk about optimizing the customer relationship. But some relationships are worth more than others and our job as marketers is to maximize value for the company. In practice, this would mean you’d examine the value of the next best action for each customer and then pick the action with the highest value. At any given moment, some customers would get attention and some wouldn’t. And that’s okay; over the long run, different customers should rise to the top as diminishing returns set in on the most valuable and it becomes worthwhile to invest a bit in the others.
This all assumes you can actually make the calculation of the incremental value of each next best action – something much easier said than done. But even getting it approximately right is better than being highly accurate at something that’s fundamentally the wrong thing.
In the future, this goal may change as we move away from pursuing transactions with individuals to creating long-term relationships that include many transactions. That is, I see the economy moving towards a subscription based model for nearly everything, as people delegate many purchase decisions to automated systems and the primary battle becomes convincing people that your automated system is the one they should delegate to. This subscription model already exists in much of the economy – for example, I don’t pick a new bank every time I deposit a check; rather, I work in the context of a long-term relationship. Much of the economy actually works this way already (financial services, healthcare, insurance, utilities, housing, etc.). Retail is the biggest exception and that will change as “purchase bots” do more of the work and people do things like subscribe to a transportation service rather than buying a car or hailing a random taxi. In this world, most marketing is about creating a trusted brand that matches the buyer’s goals. Of course, there’s still other marketing about selling to the buyer’s automated agent: to stick with the transportation example, when I need a ride to the airport, my agent would ask for bids from a network of Uber-type drivers. Those drivers could offer different levels of service and it would be up to my bot to pick the one that best matches my preferences. Marketing for the drivers would involve presenting themselves to meet the preferences of the most lucrative set of customers, or tailoring their presentations to match the preferences of individual customers to the degree this is known. Fun times ahead!