The Mark Group-A 50-Year Legacy of Service (1,709 words)
Look inside the front cover of The Mark Group's original catalog, Mark, Fore & Strike, and you are very likely to see a 1950s photograph that represents the company's founding belief: The lifetime value of each customer is more important than a single sale. Behind that photo is a story, one that shows just how strongly the company believes in customer service.
The photo is of the late J. William Tiernan, president and owner of Mark, Fore & Strike until his death in 1973, and was taken by a store manager as Tiernan arrived at a Naples, FL, airfield with a dress for a customer. Earlier that day, the store manager called Tiernan regarding a customer who'd fallen in love with a dress for an occasion that evening—the perfect dress, just not in the right size. Tiernan located the dress at the Delray Beach store and flew to Naples to personally hand-deliver the garment.
Today, the company founded in 1951 as a single Mark, Fore & Strike retail store has grown to a $115-million company with a retail arm, three catalogs and a growing Web presence. The lion's share of its business still comes through its catalogs—Boston Proper, Charles Keath and Mark, Fore & Strike—representing more than 85 percent of current net sales. Accordingly, the company will mail more than 58 million catalogs by year's end. But the Internet is becoming an increasingly important component in the company's marketing and customer service approach as its largely female baby boomer audience becomes more Web savvy.
Regardless of the medium, "With every customer contact we have we try to drive home the fact that we have excellent service," says Seth Miller, executive vice president and chief operating officer. "It's ingrained in us, it goes back to the company's beginnings. It's in everything we do, through every aspect of the company," he asserts.