Fulfilling Customers' Orders ... and Expectations By Denny Hatch The next time a wonk gets up at a direct marketing conference and parrots the current industry buzzwords—customer relationship management, retention marketing, back-end marketing and customer satisfaction—stand up and let fly with a noisy raspberry cheer. Consign these tired platitudes to the scrap heap of bad ideas. Anyone with half a brain and half a computer can satisfy a customer. But only when you continually delight customers will they keep coming back. The Tale of the Lexus A friend of consultant Don Jackson bought a Lexus—a $45,000 piece of machinery. He could afford a
By Denny Hatch Oct. 4, 1957, is etched in my memory almost as clearly as the day Kennedy was shot. That October day, the Russians launched sputnik, leaving the U.S. space program at the starting gate. I stood on Columbia University's main campus talking with fellow students while this satellite whizzed over our heads, all of us fully expecting Armageddon. During a speech in Poland the previous year, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev said to the West, "We will be at your burial." During this period, American school children practiced regular air raid drills. Survivalists spent small fortunes outfitting backyard air raid shelters.
Back In the earlier part of this century, direct marketing didn't even have a name. Over the years, more and more disciples became devoted to this super-focused method of reaching and selling customers; eventually direct marketing drew enough of a following to earn its own professional association and a trade journal. However, only in the past five years has direct marketing fanned out to touch nearly every company across this country—and even the world. For those who started out in this "industry," there weren't any college classes, associations or experts to learn from. No companies ran workshops, seminars or full-blown conferences on creating effective