The people who want to hear from you asset

Go to your customer database. Right now. I’ll wait.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

How many of those people really want to hear from you?

How many actually pay attention to what you are saying?

Better still, how many eagerly anticipate getting your communication–Sunday circular, direct mail, e-mail, phone call, whatever–because they know it will contain something meaningful and relevant?

While it’s not on the balance sheet, one of the most important assets for just about any company is “the people who want to hear from you asset.” And many brands manage it poorly. As Seth pointed out in the classic Permission Marketing, permission is a privilege that needs to be carefully cultivated.

Just because e-mail is cheap, doesn’t mean you should spam me with largely irrelevant offers. But enough about Groupon.

Just because you are organized by channel, doesn’t mean your marketing shouldn’t speak to me with one integrated voice.

Just because I have shown a propensity to respond to prior offers, doesn’t mean you should up the quantity of communication to test my tolerance for pain.

At Neiman Marcus–because no one was paying attention to it–our highest opt-out rates were among our most valuable customers. We were squandering our people who wanted to hear from us asset.

Typically, it is expensive to earn marketing permission from customers with high lifetime value. Once lost, it is even more expensive to win it back.

My guess is you might want to start paying more attention to the people you want to keep paying attention.




2 thoughts on “The people who want to hear from you asset

  1. Unfortunately, most companies new to e-marketing equate number of mailboxes stuffed with market penetration without considering what the recipient of the e-mail blast wants or needs to hear.

    This shotgun approach to marketing certainly has a high incidence of opt outs since that is the most effective way to stop the barrage of spam.

    But what if the message just offered two options:

    First and Up Front – We value you as a customer and understand you value your time too much to slog through more spam, therefore clicking on this link will both add us to your bookmarks list and at the same time magically remove your name from our mailing list. This way we will always be there when you want to see us and take advantage of the “Valued Return Customer” 40% off anything coupon ( sorry, one per customer only).

    Or… you can continue receiving our great offerings by just clicking on the link below and we will take you directly to latest selection of your favorite toys.

  2. Great perspective, Steven. Much of today’s marketing is done using algorithms. Gone are the days of real, human emotions that were called upon to create effective marketing practices. Today, everyone wants a shortcut to the pot ‘o gold at the end of the rainbow.

    Sadly, as Neiman may have figured out, we are still human, we are still driven by emotion, and no matter the technological advances, we will not respond in ways that computers understand. Human beings are largely illogical creatures and computers will never really figure us out.

    How many computer programs can ask themselves, “what would I do if….?”


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