Customers are King

November 5, 2006

Are you in the type of business where you can collect data on your customers?  Retailers, direct marketers, Internet based businesses, etc., are all in the wonderful position of knowing what and when their customers buy.  Given a robust database of information the “world is their oyster.”

Many of these businesses already employ sophisticated data collection techniques and resultant marketing plans.  Does your Company?  If not, you need to get with it!  

Let’s deal with some specific examples.  When you have your car serviced at a dealership, do you get a follow-up phone call or letter asking how the service was?  Many car dealers are already doing this.  But how many dealers look at the mileage and ask the simple question of when might you be interested in a new car?  Or, how many suggest the timing of the next maintenance appointment?  Or, how many suggest extra “free” services to make the car “experience” even better (e.g.: e-mail to receive updates on recalls, reminders to get the car serviced, free car wash, etc.)?

Let’s get even more sophisticated.  Many of us “belong” to supermarket sponsored “clubs.”  These clubs give members “special” discounts on products throughout the store.  The cards all of us use to get these discounts allow the supermarkets to track our personal shopping history.  What did we buy and when did we buy.  Can you imagine the power of this information?  If I purchase Ice Cream every other week, and my supermarket knows which brand and flavor, what happens if I miss a purchase cycle?  Do I get an e-mail asking why?  Do I get an incentive to come back and purchase my favorite brand?  Do I get any creative “recipes” to enhance my ice cream experience along with incentives to purchase the ancillary ingredients?  Do I get a suggestion that buying a bigger size will save me money in the long run?  Do I get notified when a new flavor that is close to what I like has just been introduced?  I could go on, of course, but I think you get the point.

A database of customer purchase information especially linked to an automatic e-mail system could truly be a powerful and effective marketing tool.  As I said, some marketers may already be doing some of this.  But I urge everyone to do more.

Rich

Bizvice:  Strategy, Marketing & Entrepreneurship

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