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
I think that puts things into perspective!
Speak to you next week.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.