When I think about the year that passed and about all the information I had to accumulate, I can summarize the majority of things with three words- segmentation, targeting and customization. This are the new laws in any marketing related area. This is what the new marketer has to know very well and has to be able to implement in a way or another. In order to do this we have a lot to learn from.... Santa Claus. Yes, its true, Santa Claus is the best specialist in direct and relationship marketing. He has a "business" and he has " employees", in a sense he provides a service a very well thought service. Think about it. Santa Claus receives thousands of letters every day- this is a river of qualitative research, and in those letters children express their wants and their needs, the insight Santa Claus has its amazing. But he does not stop there, no, he wants to know every child, he wants to know everything that is why he uses the latest information gadgets, he sends his elfs in missions all around the year, to find out exactly what are the circumstances, what is the global picture. Then he has the competitive advantage, he knows everything, he has the information and he builds his own criteria- so the first stage arrises- Segmentation. Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice. He takes care of the nice children and he sends amendments to the naughty children. He never forgets anybody. Every child is in his list, but he knows exactly in what category. There are different types of customers, and you can not have the same type of relationship with them all, so you have to prioritise your customer. Santa Claus has on his loyalty ladder, the parents, the children, the elfs, the rain dears and the non believers- that are the lowest on his priority but his objective is to change their perception in 6 mounths, if not they will always stay non believers. Santa Claus Targets! but not as marketers do, in groups, he does it individually, every new child is a new target. Then Santa Claus makes customizations, he puts the name of the child on the toys or on the bags, he hides it where the child wants and he eats or does not eat the crackers and the milk in the night time according to every house's rules. Santa Claus would be the perfect marketeer. But how the perfect marketer does not exist, Santa Claus has also a big problem, he cannot mantain his competitive advantage for much longer. Every Santa from every Mall looks like him, every parent thinks he is Santa and he acts like it and the toys- the product, needs innovation. His strategy should be innovation and not cost reduction! Santa all my respect, you are the best in relationship marketing but be careful if you don't keep up with marketing strategy soon you will become just a fairy tale.