LAS VEGAS: The lines between customer relationship management and advertising are blurring to the point where one-to-one marketing is almost a reality according to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.

Speaking on a panel at the CES in Las Vegas, reported by Forbes, he said that up until now that idea had been "a mythological beast", but this was no longer the case. He cited the example of a brand responding to a customer with a customised photo which was subsequently amplified to many other people. "You get that amplification from the connection to that one person," he said.

He further argued that Twitter was "an indispensable companion to life in the moment" and added: "We're trying to connect marketers with people in the context of what's happening right now."

At the same time, however, he admitted that consumers could easily opt out of tailored advertising on Twitter but he had no figures on how many had done so, reported Techcrunch.

Fellow panellist Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis, suggested the figure in Europe was below 5%. "They [consumers] don't want to miss the relationship with the brand or an offer, but they don't want to be overloaded with a lot of information or the wrong messages," he said.

Those remarks had arisen in the context of privacy which both men agreed was a serious issue. "You just need to be clear and direct with your users," was Costolo's take. Levy thought the use of private data to deliver messages should be considered very carefully but added that access to information was important to avoid consumers being bombarded with spam.

On the deal between Twitter and Publicis, announced early last year, Techcrunch suggested "It sounds a bit like they are still trying to work out the full extent of what they will do together".

Costolo said it was "about really trying to develop a partnership rather than a transactional relationship", while Levy was more circumspect. "We cannot say we can build a platform for advertisers on only one platform," he mused.

"It's a complex system that requires much more information and knowledge … that is where we and the ad agencies are in our way of thinking," he added.

Data sourced from Forbes, Techcrunch; additional content by Warc staff