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Don’t take your customers for granite!

Contributing Solution Provider

Here’s how, in case you prefer to follow the advertising leaders.

No, that’s not a typo. What I mean is, don’t assume you have a customer for life - or even for the next purchase.

I’m willing to bet you know the unique definition of “assume”. There’s no way you want to join the donkey club in this “the age of instant communication.” Yes, somewhat like instant coffee, but there are no grounds to stand on.

The point is you need to start learning more about your customers. Don’t click away because you know all you need to know about your customers. That may have been true yesterday but is it still true today? Even more so.

For example, just this week, I ran across the following articles, which appeared in a blog from a direct marketing publication, in one day, back in November 2010!

“Banks roll with new financial regulations to learn more about their customers.”

“Make accurate customer data the center of loyalty efforts.”

Today, I see similar statements. Why? Data-driven marketing needs better customer information for anyone to respond to a marketing message. Even technology, such as marketing automation, Sales Force and any of the databases created to help marketers reach more targeted segments and build better customer profiles.

Take a step back.

Since the term for direct marketing came about as a strategy, in the 1950’s, it coincided with companies using direct mail to reach customers at their homes “directly” to their mailbox.

As time kept rolling onward, many ideas and customer needs changed, eventually meeting head on with technology.

In Forrester’s, Winning in the Age of the Customer, the risks in today’s customer-led market have shifted from responding too early to responding too late. Forrester’s age of the customer research gives business and technology leaders common insights and integrated playbooks — the fuel for complex, high-stakes customer-obsessed strategies.

Back to the present.

This was just one publication, with these two headlines, point to the fact that customers are always changing, and if they mean anything to you and your firm, you need to meet the change head on. The published date was November 2010.

In the first headline, banks need to learn more. Stop and think a minute. I would think a bank knows a bit more about their customers than, for example, a retail store? If that is a true statement, then even the banks don’t have enough information about their customers or, are not recording selected data. Or, they neglected to act on it because the money was flowing in like a river after the first spring thaw.

Even collecting a minimum of information and acting upon it, such as relevancy in the message to the sender, causes an uptick in responses. For example, if an optometrist has a better lens for people who wear bifocals, why send this information to their whole list of patients?

The need for a bifocal usually occurs in the later years of life. Why not go into the patient's database and just pick the patients currently wearing them. Then select patients over the age of 40 who are not wearing them, but may likely need them. The response rate can be two, three or four times better than just an ordinary message.

In Summary.

Data is a lot of work. Interpreting data is more than a lot of work. Technology changes too fast. And the list can go on forever. In real time companies wait for the next bout of technology to take effect.

Today, it’s another disruptive way of advertising. Turn on your computer, a tablet or even a smart phone and what do you see? If you said an advertisement, you are a correct. The advertiser provides the data and the channel delivery.

If you collect data and do not react to it, you’re missing many opportunities and not realizing it. So, don’t just sit there and wonder “where have all my customers gone?” Start learning more about your customers and compare them to your prospects, to regain those rock-hardened relationships you once had.

Let me know what you think.


The articles in each issue of Direct Marketing Success are ready to help you acquire new customers, and get your existing customers to buy more. To get your copy today, click here.

Our MCG Marketing-eVal was updated and launch date is November 15th. 








Thanks for reading!

Marketing Doc, aka Mike Deuerling



 © 2007-2017 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Windows Clip Art, HubSpot, PhotoPin, DepositPhotos, Solid Stock, Unsplash, Stencil or John Deuerling.


I have owned and operated a variety of businesses during my thirty plus years as an entrepreneur. Being a SMB, I have engaged with others to learn and understand how each one was operated. I have had an inquisitive mind my whole life. I have an associate degree in science, completed an apprentice program in carpentry, studied design at another college and received a four year degree in Marketing, and added a few post graduate classes as well. SMB's have used direct marketing and mail as their main channel of communications for many years. Now the swing of the pendulum of marketing has led many to the latest trends in digital marketing. Data drives all forms of marketing communication. However, raw data must be analyzed, segmented, profiled, measured and tested to make the data useful to marketing. Great direct marketing mail processing is like peeling an onion. There are many layers you unfold to get your desired results. The process is easy to understand, and once you learn it, you’ll see what the phrase, “a labor of love” really means. If you have a goal to learn more about your customers from each communication, you will see positive results stemming from each subsequent mailing. The people who complain the loudest about their results when using direct marketing mail is usually those that did not follow the process. Not following the process is like the baker who missed using the correct amount of yeast in a recipe for bread. She wasted a lot of dough. Learning and having the techniques and fundamentals of direct marketing is a valuable skill to have today. Direct marketing mail helps a SMB focus more on results while listening and learning what their customers want. What makes me different? I’m motivated to help every one of my customers use the right tools to meet their goals. In the present digital age, marketing coupled with technology is a skill set now in high demand. I have always embraced the use of technology with marketing.