Editor’s Notes: Customers Come First
When you read the three articles that make up this month’s cover story, our annual “Ideas You Can Take to the Bank!” roundup, you’ll note a common thread. While these articles address different aspects of direct marketing—permission-based communication, upselling/cross-selling and database analysis—they all speak to the concept of achieving success through a dialogue that holds relevance for the customer.
Unfortunately, too many companies in the past few years have defined success only by the size of their bottom line. This short-term thinking has spoiled the telephone—once a great tool for marketers who used it responsibly—as a communication channel. And this myopia continues to threaten direct mail and e-mail.
Clearly, customers desire a balance. They want to be informed about new products and services of interest to them, but they also need control—the right to limit the intrusion and impact of marketing on their lives. This balance is about the ability of consumers to easily notify companies about their contact preferences—i.e., media type, frequency of contact and offer type—and for these requests to be honored in a timely and respectful fashion.
Of course, it’s a tough road from theory to practice. In her article, “The Power of Permission,” Managing Editor Lisa Yorgey Lester enlists the help of knowledge leaders to offer some practical ideas on how you can develop a more permission-based communication plan. While you may never agree with marketing revolutionary Seth Godin’s assertion that marketers must solicit permission from every consumer before direct contact—terminating all prospecting activity—I think we all can agree that successful direct marketing is based on the quality of the communication, not the quantity.
And in an effort to be relevant to your needs, Target Marketing has refined a few editorial sections for the coming year. This month you’ll find a new column, Direct Mail Strategy, written by copywriter and direct marketing consultant Pat Friesen. She will tackle the nitty-gritty of this direct marketing workhorse, such as copy, design, formats and production. We’ve also expanded the Hot Lists department to include spotlights on a new list available for rent and a list that is under new management—both of which offer opportunities for you to find new customers with which to start a relevant, permission-based relationship!