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.