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Market Of One

Personalized treatment.

Don't look now, but your target market is shrinking. Really shrinking. Thanks to technological advances virtually unthinkable a few years ago, we're entering an era of individuality that makes the "Me Decade" of the 1970s seem positively pluralistic. No longer content to be mass marketed to, today's consumers are demanding personalized treatment like never before. Simply put, everyone is a market--a market of one.

In this get-exactly-what-you-want-when-you-want-it world, computers are made to order. Online booksellers don't just ship requested titles--they actually suggest titles based on each customer's preferences. Even McDonald's is touting its "Made for You" food-preparation system. Similarly, Burger King is renewing its "Have It Your Way" pledge.

What this means for your business is up to you. How do you customize your product or service using the anybody-is-not-everybody approach? Don't look now, but your marketing horizons are expanding. Really expanding.

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This article was originally published in the January 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Market Of One.

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