In the book The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. describe the marketing paradigm shift that displaces the traditional and more popular approach of selling products to a greater number of consumers to the more innovative and intimate idea of promoting an increased number of products to an individual consumer via the vehicle of company and customer relationship.

Peppers and Rogers make careful note of the emphasis in marketing techniques being moved away from the time-honored concept of share of market to that of share of customer. They ask the question: Which is a better measure of success - the headcount of all the consumers (first time users or otherwise treated equally) who make use of a particular company product in relation to its rival brands? Or the number of company products used by each of those people in their lifetime? According to the two authors, the priority of concentration and marketing attention should be relocated from the statistics governing the number of customers who use a certain product to the relationship the company and the customer enjoy and exactly how much more business (from this same individual) can be achieved as a result of it.

In emphasizing the significance of customer relationships, the authors introduce a new objective for modern business practices, one that was in actuality the standard mere centuries ago with small time businesses. The idea is simple: shift the objective to that of customer retention as opposed to the more conventional goal of customer acquisition. In the one to one paradigm, constantly treating each purchase of a company's product as the attainment of a new customer proffers no substantial business gain. True success is measured in repeat customer commerce, generating more business from that same customer, and the loyalty generated therein. To establish that fidelity, the company must understand what it is their consumers want (or do not want, as the case may be) and provide that added or unique value that not only keeps them coming back for more but perceive the company in a favorable light.

It is with this logic that Peppers and Rogers strongly urge that a dialogue transpire between the two parties or at least made possible if necessary. Opening up channels of communication both to and from the company as well as making them readily available to the customer becomes paramount in garnering useful positive and negative feedback. Only through this acquisition of input could a better good or service be actively developed by the company to meet its consumer's ever-changing needs and wants. A satisfied customer defines the business' success.

Armed with this information, a company can better market to every individual. As such, there needs to be a decision-making as well as task-executing body present for each customer, overseeing their concerns and preferences as they relate to the company's product portfolio and adjusting where necessary to accommodate him or her. The managing of customers is of equal if not more importance than the management of the products a company generates. Careful monitoring and review of the relationship fostered between the company and the client plays a dramatic role in the retention of their business.

Furthermore, attention should be paid to the uniqueness of customers and as such, marketers should differentiate customers and not simply their products alone. After a certain amount of time, it becomes apparent that particular customers are worth more in their lifetime value than others (and by that same logic, it may be revealed that other customers may not be worth quite as much as the attention they have been given thus far). As the standard method of marketing employs advertising to the lowest common denominator to reach the largest audience possible, Rogers and Peppers question the significance and rationale governing the observance of this tradition.

To what end does it serve to expend time and energy in attempting to sell one's product to a consumer who is not likely to ever purchase that company's good or partake of its service? That precious time and energy is better served in assessing and analyzing what loyal patrons the company already has and using that information to maximize customer share and the consumer experience.

Instead of molding a consumer to fit a product, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D. say it is high time for the product to be molded to fit the consumer.

One method to be implemented in this one to one paradigm is to bring the product to the customer instead of vice-versa. What with the rise of the technological age, there are various media now available to disseminate marketing materials to the masses. As the text states: "Every time a consumer has to run an errand, a business opportunity is revealed." Why leave it to chance to have one's target audience encounter a marketing message when it can be delivered straight to them? This by no means solicits the need for employing mass marketing techniques, subjugating individual preferences just to sell more products. Instead, the two authors of the book propose that this is an excellent opportunity to engage in one to one marketing strategy.

With all the information gained from the product or service user, the company can tailor any media messages it sends out to a particular person in such a way that indicates and makes good use of the existence of a client-company relationship. Such personalization provides added value for the consumer, potentially drawing more business from them over the span of their lives.

On the other side of the marketing table, the attention paid to the relationship a customer enjoys is of great benefit to him as well. At the very least, it gives him the impression that he is not an anonymous purchaser of the company's product. He comes to understand how important he is to the corporation and how his needs must be met in order for them to achieve success. With the relationship in place, a consumer can build trust and establish confidence with a particular brand and/or product, simplifying any decisions he may have to make between identical products as well as feeling assured that the company he conducted business with will provide that very solution he needs for whatever problem ails him.

According to Peppers and Rogers, fostering relationships with customers and drawing emphasis away from just the sheer size in numbers a company's product enjoys will change the way modern business operates. If anything, it will be understood that mass media itself is but a tool to reach thousands... but armed with the one to one future approach, they can all be spoken with individually.

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