Perchance to Dream (of New Customers and Untapped Riches)
I also stated that a marketing-based approach to catalog marketing cares less for the specific product, than it does finding the right market (customers!) for those products. To me, that IS about putting customers first.
The following is a quote I give to my direct marketing class on the first night of the semester. It’s by Peter Drucker, one of the great management gurus of our time:
“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.”
My personal version goes something like this (with a direct marketing context): The goals of every direct marketing organization are to generate new customers at the lowest possible cost per acquisition and take care of these customers to maximize customer lifetime value via repeat purchases.
The goals of every direct marketing organization need to be exclusively focused around the above.
But that’s not always the case in today’s modern business world. These business managers know their customers, but, more specifically, they know what their customers want. The emphasis is less on understanding customers better, and more on their own intuition of what customers want. And of course any time you have a company with more than one employee, you have politics, which means that following the above principals can get muddied by other issues.
I see product-centric and politically charged organizations every day of the week stepping on their own toes and chasing their own tails! I’ve also seen some companies with some great products fail for these very same reasons.
Which is why I want to set a different tone for this blog and proffer the thought that the modern entrepreneurial business should be marketing-focused and, by extension, customer-driven.
So to all catalog business owners out there, let me ask you this: Are you product driven? Or customer/marketing focused? What kind of research do you do to better understand your customers? How do you develop new products? Let’s get into this in future postings. As always, please feel free to fire off a comment by using the form below, and I’ll respond.
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.