To explain any ghost story, you need a little diversion into real life.
It is strange to think that only fifteen years ago there was no such thing as customer relationship marketing as we know it today. CRM was only practiced by the local grocer who genuinely knew each customer individually. Like all great ideas, and also maybe some of the ideas here, the advantages are blatantly obvious in retrospect. It just needed the technological and social environment to catch up. And it needed a champion.
I was very impressed when I met Don Peppers. As a real business leader, in search of excellence in terms of vision, commitment and eloquence, I can only compare him to Tom Peters. His ideas immediately seemed common sense to me - the measurability and statistics, the information requirements and rules engines, the technology and the simplicity, the implicit feedback loops and control theory - it fit me well.
So for the last decade of my working life, I have been explaining these principles to senior business managers, and also making them work in real world systems. I have not seen many people who seem to understand both the core message and also the IT enablers.
And in at least one little area, in terms of explaining and implementing the CRM vision, I think that I go further than those original 1 to 1 manuals. I needed a new phrase to summarise this idea, I called it Pepper's Ghost ...