Don’t take your customers for granite!

Here’s how, in case you prefer not to follow the advertising leaders.

No, that’s not a typo. What I mean is, don’t assume you have a customer for life – or even for the next purchase.

I’m willing to bet you know the unique definition of “assume”. There’s no way you want to join the donkey club in this “the age of instant communication.” Yes, somewhat like instant coffee, but there are no grounds to stand on.

The point is you need to start learning more about your customers. Don’t click away because you know all you need to know about your customers. That may have been true yesterday but is it still true today? Even more so.

For example, just this week, I ran across the following articles, which appeared in a blog from a direct marketing publication by Direct Marketing News, in one day, back in November 2010!

“Banks roll with new financial regulations to learn more about their customers.”

“Make accurate customer data the center of loyalty efforts.”

Today, I see similar statements. Why? Data-driven marketing needs better customer information for anyone to respond to a marketing message. Even technology, such as marketing automation, Sales Force and any of the databases created to help marketers reach more targeted segments and build better customer profiles.

Take a step back.

Since the term for direct marketing came about as a strategy, in the 1950’s, it coincided with companies using direct mail to reach customers at their homes “directly” to their mailbox.

As time kept rolling onward, many ideas and customer needs changed, eventually meeting head on with technology.

In Forrester’s, “Winning in the Age of the Customer,” the risks in today’s customer-led market have shifted from responding too early to responding too late. Forrester’s age of the customer research gives business and technology leaders common insights and integrated playbooks — the fuel for complex, high-stakes customer-obsessed strategies.

Back to the present.

The articles in the blockquote above was from one publication. These two headlines point to the fact that customers are always changing, and if they mean anything to you and your firm, you need to meet the change head on. The published date was seven years ago!

In the first headline, banks need to learn more.  Stop and think a minute. I would think a bank knows a bit more about their customers than, for example, a retail store? If that is a true statement, then even the banks don’t have enough information about their customers or, are not recording selected data. Or, they neglected to act on it because the money was flowing in like a raging river after the first spring thaw.

Even collecting a minimum of information and acting upon it, such as better relevancy in the message to the sender, causes an uptick in responses. For example, if an optometrist has a better lens for people who wear bifocals, why send this information to their whole list of patients?

The need for a bifocal usually occurs in the later years of life. Why not go into the patient list and just pick the patients currently wearing them. Then select patients over 40 who are not wearing them, but may likely  need them. The response rate can be two, three or four times better than just an ordinary message.

In Summary.

Data is a lot of work. Interpreting data is more than a lot of work. Technology changes too fast. And the list can go on forever. In real time companies wait for the next bout of technology to take effect. Or wait until the next new and better version. Or just wait.

Today, we’re experiencing another form of a disruptive tactic of advertising. Turn on your computer, a tablet or even a smart phone and what do you see? If you said an advertisement, you are a correct. The advertiser provides the data and the channel delivery.

If you collect data and do not react to it, you’re missing many opportunities and not realizing it. So, don’t just sit there and wonder “where have all my customers gone?” Start learning more about your customers and compare them to your prospects, to regain those rock-hardened relationships you once had.

The articles in each issue of Direct Marketing Success are ready to help you acquire new customers, and get your existing customers to buy more. To get your copy today, click here.

Thanks for reading. Any questions please post them below.

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Marketing eValuations – Teaching – Consultation. It’s what I do.

  Evaluate – The easiest path for better marketing and advertising.

The BEST for your DIRECT MARKETING SUCCESS!!!

Mike Deuerling
aka: MarketingDoc

800.251.3608 / MD@DMCM.net

    

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