In the book The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a
, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D.
describe the marketing paradigm
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
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.