Photo by Son Of Groucho
During the last week I heard the expression “a segment of one” a number of times. The idea is that with the tools of computerized customization many companies can actually understand the needs of each and every customer. For example, a company can send thousands of different emails to its customers, so each customer will get a personalized e-mail message. Sounds promising? It is. New technology creates an abundance of possibilities to do things that were once very hard to do. And I am sure that as time goes by, the ability to use it more effectively will enhance.
But, just because we can, does not immediately mean that we should!
Technology allows us to do many things today. It makes things that were once very hard, a lot easier. However that does not mean that we should do them. If it was not smart to do when it was hard, the fact that it is easy should not matter.
The “segment of one” example is a simple one. Segmentation is about going after the right customers. It takes into account the fact that there are some inherent tradeoffs because a company cannot be everything to everybody. The fact that we can understand all of our customers, does not mean we should try to satisfy all of them. Not all customers are born equal. Some are more important. Some are a liability more than an asset. Don’t invest time and money, even if it is a small amount of time and money, on these customers.
Don’t let the fact that there is a simple answer to the question: “how?” blind you from asking the question “why?”