To Err is Human — to Really Muck Things Up Takes a CEO, Part One
3. Never forget the SQUINCH that stole Christmas (season). It was a super smart direct marketer who invented square-inch (squinch) analysis. It provides catalogers with a surefire way to understand the correlation between what’s selling in their catalog vs. what’s not. It’s a key measurement of how each item in your catalog contributes to profits based upon the space the product occupies. Yet I can’t tell you how many marketers I see not using it. Which leads me to the next item (why it’s not used)…
4. Don’t ever assume that you, and only you, know what your customers want. This is the surefire way to destroy your company. Yes, it may be your company. And yes, you may have invested all of your time, money, blood, sweat and tears into it. And yes, you have in the past picked products your customers loved. But stop! Nothing substitutes for listening to your customers.
Conduct surveys, have your customer service reps ask questions and evaluate squinch and other product sales measurements. In short, don’t let your ego write a check your business can’t cash! Better yet, get into your call center and answer calls yourself. You’ll learn a lot, and your employees will see you in a whole new (and positive) light.
5. Never forget the basics. Response analysis, lifetime value, P&L management, RFM, squinch and product sales forecasting are your tools in this business. If I never hear the galvanizing cheer “we need to think outside the box” ever again, it will be too soon. The direct marketing playbook (inside the box) contains all the tools you’ll ever need. Throw away those rules and you have a recipe for failure. In short, think inside the box to be successful.
6. Never fill key positions with people you know. Family, friends and even your former housekeeper have no place occupying key roles in your company. I’m aware that you know and trust them, and they would never (theoretically) hurt you, but if you want to keep your company healthy, hire people who have a demonstrated record of success in the specific field the expertise is needed. Yes, they’ll cost you more to hire. But in the long run, you’ll see real ROI from these individuals.
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.