How Personal Can You Get?

December 6, 2006

I believe in the concept of segmentation.  The ultimate form of segmentation is personalization.  Can a Company truly design products that are specifically made for the individual needs/wants/requirements of individuals?  Just ask Dell.  They would say yes!  Of course, the dell model still is not totally personal.

Recently, there have been experiments with jeans and shoes where consumers go to a retail outlet and get jeans fitted exactly to their bodies;  also, the same has been done with shoes.  Is this a trend?  What about other product categories?  Can manufacturers deliver truly “customized” and “personalized” products to consumer specifications? 

This question certainly fights the idea of mass production.  but I believe in “mass customization.”  It can easily done with books, magazines, and other printed material given advancements with technology.   Why not shampoo, skin lotions, cereal, etc.?   For example, suppose I wanted a low carp high fiber cereal which contains fruit, nuts, and a touch of yogurt.  Now, I really have no idea if such a cereal exists, but if it does not, couldn’t it be produced especially for me?  Delivery, of course, is another issue.

What about cars.  When you go to buy or lease a car, your options are “dictated” by the manufacturer.  For example, if you want a back-up camera on a Lexus SUV, you must have the navigation system.  Why?   Your colors are limited to what is offered, both inside and out.  Why?  You can only have a certain sound system.  Why?  I know there are issues with production… but this is 2006 and we should have the technology which would allow us to truly customize any product to any consumer needs/wants.

Rich

Bizvice:  Strategy, Marketing & Entrepreneurship

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One Response to “How Personal Can You Get?”

  1. johnp@dell Says:

    OK, I just have to bite on this post. 😉

    Dell may not be “totally personal” in your view, but we have a unique ability to pinpoint market requirements by virtue of direct interaction with more than 3 million customers every day. We also pioneered and refined a pretty good system in which we build to each customer’s specifications…to the tune of 37 million systems last year.


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