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Targeting specific customers with tailored offers will become a much bigger business in 2013, according to one SAP expert. New technology could help the decades-old concept of personal marketing explode -- and make 2013 the Year of the Consumer.

Year of the Consumer 01-02-2013-AFocusing one’s message on a small demographic, as opposed to blasting it indiscriminately to as wide an audience as possible, was revolutionary when Don Peppers and Martha Rogers published The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time in 1993. More of a business-to-niche than a literal one-on-one approach, this technique expends more marketing effort on fewer consumers to:

  • Discover prospective customers
  • Identify their needs and wants
  • Adapt offerings to suit each individual
  • Continue learning about loyal consumers

“Peppers [and Rogers’] vision of the one-to-one future is becoming a reality,” SAP’s Volker Hildebrand said during last week’s 2013 Predictions episode of Coffee Break with Game-Changers. “You can truly treat different customers differently.”

Customizing treatment of individual consumers means more than knowing them very well, according to Hildebrand, businesses must engage with them one-to-one. He predicts that smartphones and other devices will be the dominant medium for this relationship.

Year of the Consumer 01-02-2013-B“In banking we find a lot of places where people are trying to get closer to their consumers,” SAP’s Sanjay Poonen told Bloomberg Television last week. These attempts include lending offers and “better real-time promotions.”

The New Year will see a renewed focus on the customer experience, according to SAP’s Carl Snyder. This revolves around consumer demands -- and consumers are demanding control of their financial situation.

“Banks are going to have to do much better at providing a consistent multi-channel experience to their customers across the board,” Snyder said on Coffee Break with Game-Changers. “If I want to start something in the online channel and I want to finish it in the mobile channel, then you need to be able to allow me to do that.”

And customers are getting what they want, thanks to all of the competition in the financial services industry. Banks that do not offer the desired services will lose market share to those that do in this Year of the Consumer.

“They will leave for that consistent, easy experience at another financial institution,” Snyder said. “This is a big one that I really see as coming to the forefront in 2013.”

Related Media:

The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers

Coffee Break with Game-Changers by Bonnie D. Graham

SAP’s Poonen: 2012 Was the Year of Enterprise” by Cory Johnson