Several years ago I went to Peter, my doctor, for a routine checkup and saw some colorful boxes on the end of the counter. Patricia, the office manager and Peter’s wife, said they were dietary supplements for people over the age of 50. “Should I get them?” I asked. “I take them and I feel wonderful,” she said. “Do you and Peter get a piece of the action?” She said she did, which I had no problem with. So I ordered LifePak Prime for my wife Peggy and myself—60 little cellophane packages, each with four horse pills to be taken twice a day with meals, delivered automatically once a month. The cost: about $40 a month for each of us or a total of $80 automatically billed to my Visa.
Here is the perfect continuity product. I don’t have to think about vitamin pills beyond remembering to take them. I don’t have to think about paying for them. The company, Interior Design Nutritionals, doesn’t have to worry about renewing my order or getting paid, since they have permission to charge my Visa once a month. The system works for Peggy and me, for Interior Design, for Visa and for Peter and Patricia.
This is the perfect continuity arrangement.
Continuity Marketing: A Definition
Continuity marketing means persuading a customer to agree to automatic shipments—books, vitamins, cosmetics, pantyhose, CDs, coffee, first-day-of-issue stamps, audiotapes, coins, ingots and other collectibles as well as home study courses which qualify as continuity marketing.
Two basic types of continuity offers exist: (1) closed-ended where, for example, you offer a 24-volume series of art books; (2) open-ended whereby an unlimited number of these art books continue to be sent on a predetermined schedule until the customer writes, calls or faxes to forbid you from sending any more (known as a “till forbid” offer).