If I Had My Own Business

The marketing pundits tell us personalization and customization is key to successful marketing. One-to-one marketing, they call it. Recognition that every customer is different, and should be interacted with differently.

If I had my own business, I would wholeheartedly subscribe to this approach.

But how to implement this one-to-one marketing, that’s the hard part.



Personalization — based on segmentation — is hard. On what basis should you segment?

Some pundits tell us we should market to “women.” Like all women want the same experience. 

Others point out the differences between the generations. Based on some of their research, I would qualify as a Gen Yer. I know Gen Yers, and I, sir, am no Gen Yer. 

There’s no shortage of ways to segment consumers, but none seems to work well in order to personalize the customer experience.

If I had my own business, I know how I would do it: I would ask each customer who s/he works for.


If I had my own business, and you came in to buy something, and told me you worked for a (an, or the) …..
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Bank….and you wanted to return an item you bought….I’d tell you to go online to schedule an appointment with me, make you come back at a later date, and then still make it as difficult as I humanly could before accepting your return.

Airline….I’d send you over to another line with a metal detector, make you take your shoes off, go through your bag, then make you sit (in a narrow, uncomfortable chair) for an hour before letting you buy what you wanted to buy.

Doctor…I’d ask to see proof that you could pay for what you wanted to buy…then make you sit next to a sick, coughing kid for 30 minutes, then make you sit in a small room on a reclining table covered with European toilet paper…before letting you buy what you wanted to buy.

Government….I’d have your credit and debit cards canceled, and tell you to come back after you’ve applied for and received new cards. The website to apply for those cards wouldn’t work properly, and only on unspecified blocks of time, at that. There would be no security on these sites, so your personal information will be stolen by identity thieves, so good luck getting what you came in for. 

Online publication…I’d ask you — AS SOON AS YOU WALKED IN — to take a survey asking you about your experience (which you wouldn’t even have had yet) with my business. Then I would ask you for your ID and password in order to shop in my store. And if you didn’t have one, and wasn’t willing to pay for one, I’d let you shop around in the section of my store where all the crappy products are.


So, tell me, where do you work?

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