Editor's Notes: Great Ideas Don’t Make Money

Thorin McGee, Editor-in-Chief/Content Director, Target Marketing

Denny Hatch wrote a Famous Last Words column called “One-to-One Marketing and the ‘Shot Heard ‘Round the World.'” That was in the June 2001 issue of Target Marketing.

By that time, the one-to-one ideas had been articulated in the seminal 1993 book “The One to One Future” by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers, Ph.D., and they formed the basis of the Peppers&Rogers Group’s consulting.

In the column, Denny said:

The Peppers and Rogers marketing premise is summed up in the subtitle of their publication 1to1: “Using technology to manage customer relationships.” The implicit promise in those words: Create a detailed database of information about each customer, whereupon it’s a no-brainer to create sales, loyalty and profits. What’s missing from the premise: Computers and technology don’t create sales, loyalty and profits. People do—specifically, savvy direct marketers and creative wizards who know how to make an offer, ask for an order and create wants.

At the DMA2013 convention this month, Peppers and Rogers will be inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame.

In the decade since Denny wrote that column, and two decades since “The One to One Future,” the Peppers and Rogers vision of CRM has become one of the most powerful ideas in the industry. It is arguably the basis of all effective marketing automation, database marketing and CRM.

But Denny was still right, and I don’t think Peppers or Rogers would disagree: All these technological marvels and insights are useless without great direct marketers who can create sales, loyalty and profits.

At DMA2013?
If you’re at DMA2013, come by the Target Marketing Group booth, #633, and say “hi.” I hope to see you there!

Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.
Related Content
  • Don Peppers

    Thanks so much for the kind words, Thorin!

    And yes, as technology has become more and more capable, as the wrinkles have been ironed out of installations, and more and more applications have basically become "plug and play" for companies (and especially cloud-based solutions), the role that individual people play has increased in importance.

    You can’t write a business process rule or a line of code that requires an employee to delight a customer. The employee has to WANT to delight the customer – so if you don’t have empowered and engaged employees (that is, employees who are capable of taking action and have the internal motivation to take the right action), then you are highly unlikely to be able to deliver on the ultimate promise of one-to-one marketing.

  • Jeffrey Kesselman

    Ideas and information in of themselves are worthless.

    Action and execution are what matters. And all successful people know this.

    They myth of the million dollar idea is just that– a myth.

  • Denny Hatch

    I once did a presentation dumping on smug little direct marketers who got up in front of audiences and said, “Our business is satisfying customers’ needs.”

    I said this was a load of crap.

    “I need Jockey underwear,” I said. “I need Stoli vodka. I need gas for the car. I WANT a Jaguar. The folks at Jaguar have not persuaded me to spend the big bucks for a Jaguar. So I drive a Saab. Direct marketers are emphatically not in the business of satisfying needs. What we do is create wants.”

    After the talk a young woman from Peppers and Rogers came up to me and said my talk on the difference between needs and wants caused her to have an “epiphany.”

    P.S. To see how to create a want—an itch you simply gotta scratch—check out David Ogilvy’s Rolls-Royce ad. According to the Ogilvy agency, this ad ran in only two newspapers and two magazines. Yet it sold a shipload of Rolls-Royce cars.
    Denny Hatch

  • Thomas (Tom) Smith, III

    As well as empowered and engaged employees who know how to use the CRM and are committed to providing at least an acceptable, and an occasional outstanding, customer experience.