Lets discuss CRM Marketing (Customer Relationship Management Marketing).
When you deal with a business, you like to be called by your name, and to feel that the person you're getting services or a product from actually cares about you. If you've ever experienced surly clerks at a fast food restaurant, you've seen the reverse of this.
More and more, businesses are trying to instil good customer service skills into their employees, because customer service relationship management marketing, done right, gives them a competitive edge.
This can take two forms you can either give kiosks where customers can do things for themselves (like the post office's automated postal stations) and thus avoid dealing with a clerk at all, or you can go the Amazon.com route, where a customer that logs in is greeted by name, and recommendations to buy things based on other things they've bought or liked are shown to them. As we're mostly dealing with internet driven businesses, we're talking about the latter form of CRM marketing.
Now, there are privacy concerns with this, and securing that data is critical. You'll also find people will be more hesitant about giving their personal information for customer relationship management marketing purposes as the threat of identity theft grows. That aside, the ultimate gain is to better serve your customers by knowing what they've bought in the past, which makes it easier to know what will interest them in the future.
There are two methods that are the key to modern customer relationship management marketing as we know it automated sales and shipping tracking, and social networking activities. The reason why Amazon allows its customers to rate reviews is all about customer relationship management driven marketing. The same thing applies to eBay buyer and seller ratings it allows customers to define how their relationship with the vendor is managed, and gives both Amazon and eBay information about the people who submit ratings and write reviews. That information is then used to target those people with ads for products they want.
By putting paid ads out there that tie to specific keywords, you're working specifically on what the customer wants. Lots of people make money off of Google Ad Sense, but the actual data that's stored is run by Google. For some operations, dedicated Customer Relationship Management software is needed; if you sell a wide and diverse line of products, you'll want to look for synergies between products you sold recently and products that have sold in the past there's nothing quite as exciting as saying "So, if you bought this, you might also like this which we have in stock." It allows for a casual up sell, and it allows you to position products not only from their current expected sales, but on their expected impact for a "long tail" strategy as well.
For example, if you sell a product with a lot of "add-ons", each new "add on" that you produce is likely to drive a new sale of the original product. Each time you sell the original product, you're likely to have a customer that will be receptive to add-ons. Indeed, for a lot of publishers of board games (which use this model a lot), the sale of the initial board game is almost always a "dead wash"; it's the "got to get everything" mindset that they're using for their customer relationship management marketing.