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Market Of One

Personalized treatment.

This story appears in the January 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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.

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