The key difference is the narrowness of scope. Broadly speaking, segmentation is used to deliver personalized experiences to the many or the few, whereas one-to-one marketing, which really represents an extreme form of segmentation, is used to deliver experiences at the individual customer level based on very precise and granular levels of understanding. The key difference, therefore, is the level at which experiences are targeted and the data points required to deliver it.
Whereas one-to-many and one-to-few segmentation can be realized with basic data about a customer’s demographics, location, interests, and past behavior, one-to-one marketing requires a more sophisticated approach with a deeper and more granular understanding of each customer.
To achieve this, basic data is combined with data on an individual’s current position in the customer journey and insights gleaned from data models, many of which use machine-learning algorithms to process large volumes of data to uncover novel product affinities and interests.
For most brands, arriving at one-to-one marketing is best seen as a process or journey that starts with the collection of robust and rich data and the analysis of that data, moves on to the use of predictive data models, and culminates in the gathering of real-time data. Only by adopting this unified approach can brands transition from broad, wide-field personalizations to the narrow-focused personalizations that target your most valued customers.