Lifetime Value of a Customer

Identifying the lifetime value of a customer is an essential step in understanding the dynamics of your business. It will change your view of acquisition costs and of the profitability of different segments of your business, add urgency to your retention strategy and cause you to think hard about working more effectively to generate referrals.
 

Steve’s Rule of Mailing Lists

Over the years I have done a large number of direct mail campaigns followed up by telemarketing.  The big question has always been where to buy the list to be mailed, and I have always felt that the quality of the list was much more important than the price I paid for it.  This really is one of those areas where the more you pay the more it's worth.
 

Customer Sourcing Exercise

One of the best places to look for marketing ideas when putting together a marketing plan is your own customer base. If you can identify how, where and why you obtained your existing clients it can give you some excellent pointers as to the best marketing strategies.
 
I had a client who had the most horrible collateral material. He defended it by saying that it had been successful in delivering leads, but he was looking at it from completely the wrong perspective. What he failed to understand was that while it had been effective, almost any collateral material would have harvested low-hanging fruit and he was simply throwing money away by using what he had as a direct mail piece. 
 
When I tell people that they should never answer the phone if they don’t know who’s on the other end I often get the objection that people have to be available for their customers.  I don’t necessarily agree with this and think that it is often a question of setting expectations in people’s minds as to how available you are.
 
Promotional products are designed to support your brand, but all too often they are too cheap and do the exact opposite. It's an interesting conundrum and this is one area where "saving money" is counter-productive and can dramatically reduce your ROI. If the products you plan to give out don't represent the image that you are trying to create, you are probably better off avoiding the expense altogether and giving out nothing. 
 

Definition of Marketing

Here’s an interesting definition of Marketing. I don’t know where it came from or who the author is, but it certainly describes the different disciplines involved in marketing in a succinct and entertaining fashion - tying together advertising, promotion, publicity and PR in the context of one event. 
 
I originally heard this comment applied to sourcing product. Obviously the concept of buying below cost is, by definition, impossible and it was intended as a pithy call to action designed to get people to focus on making sure that they were continually searching to find lower cost product.
 

Effective Email Subject Lines

We subscribe to Contact Monkey to track e mail open rates. They recently did an analysis of 32 million emails sent by their users and categorized the resulting open rates by subject line.