Building Your Customer File, Part 1
In the first part of this series on tips for catalogers looking for useful ways to bolster their housefiles with prospect names, this week I provide a background on the value of customer acquisition in the catalog industry.
Of course most everyone knows that customers are the lifeblood of any direct marketing company. Everything catalog marketers do revolves around acquiring and retaining customers — and doing so at a profitable level.
Between recent printing and paper increases, the undeserved beating the U.S. Postal Service handed catalog mailers last year, and fierce competition (where the Internet comes into play heavily), the job of a catalog marketer has become extremely challenging.
My core belief is that catalogers need to focus most of their efforts on retaining customers and building ironclad relationships with them, much like I described in last week’s column about Apple. But since catalogers are always going to lose customers, they constantly need to fill their pipelines with new customers. Now they’re doing so with higher marketing expenses.
Next week I’ll take you behind the scenes of list rentals and break down some of the nuts and bolts of alternative customer acquisition programs. I’ll provide some good ideas you can test and use to add new names to your customer files.
I’d love for any catalog/multichannel readers to take part in this series (anonymously if you’d like) by e-mailing me your recent experiences in alternative customer acquisitions. Please just take a moment to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I leave you this week, I want to offer my all-time favorite quote on marketing. I try to remind myself of it as often as I can to stay focused on what really matters in the business world.
“There is only one valid definition of business purpose — to create a customer. Companies are not in business to make things … but to make customers.” — Peter F. Drucker
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.