By Lois K. Geller
I wrote a book called "Customers for Keeps." It's about something I call "friendship branding"—keeping customers for a long time.
The other day I had a book signing at Barnes & Noble. I gave a speech covering all the ways you can make customers your friends, when—right in the middle of my talk—I was hit with a "Eureka!" moment.
Did you ever have one of those? Something puzzles you, for years maybe, and then suddenly when you're thinking about something else, the answer hits you right out of the blue?
What Was Puzzling Me
Why are so many direct marketers gung ho about finding new customers and almost indifferent about keeping the ones they have? The answer hit me the other day at the bookstore.
Direct marketing's day-to-day decision-makers are budget-strapped. They have $X to produce $Y in sales. They can't get any more money to spend, and it's up to them to figure out how to spend what they have. When you talk to them about retention programs, here's what I think goes through their minds. It's a process, a series of thoughts that, connected, make sense to them.