Following up yesterday’s blog post on the Beatles’ song “I’m Looking Through You,” I’d like to revisit a sort of one-off statement that formed the genesis for that post:
And, as I listened to the lyrics, it occurred to me that often marketers forget that relationships are not forever.
Looking at client lists and expectations, I am often struck by an insidious thought: marketers are like spurned ex-boyfriends now stalking their exes. They’re just not willing to let go of the relationship even though it’s over. I’ll let you draw your own mental parallels. But, it didn’t take me long to come up with one that was accurate enough to be creepy to several of my friends.
Ultimately, though, understand that your recipients are not looking for a life-time exclusive commitment. You don’t have one of those with your providers, your recipients don’t want one with you, either. Often they are only after something temporary.
After a certain amount of time another lyric from “I’m Looking Through You” comes into play:
Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight
Time changes everything and that includes the interests of your recipients. People who used to be responsive aren’t responsive any more. They no longer care about you and your mailings. Things they loved before they don’t love any more. And all that continuing to mail them accomplishes is making you look like the stalker ex-boyfriend who just can’t seem to let go.
On the one hand, you don’t want to look like the stalker ex-boyfriend, but on the other you don’t want to lose someone as a customer who may have a recurring need but on a longer scale. So, what’s the solution?
First, pay attention to your customer purchase cycles. For instance, if you sell running shoes then let your market dictate the cycle. Back when I was high school and running cross-country, we figured a pair of racing shoes would be good for approximately 300 miles and everyday running shoes about 1000 miles. If you specialize in selling high-end shoes to serious athletes who will run 10 marathons in three months and rotate their shoes, then weekly contact might be just the thing. On the other hand, if your clients are people looking for comfortable shoes that they will wear for a year, then even monthly contact will be overkill, and the love will disappear. This is a great opportunity to use list segmentation. Find out what your clients’ needs are and cater to those needs instead of expecting your customers to cater their purchasing needs to you’re doing and send mail accordingly.
Second, pay attention to what people do with your mail and adjust what you’re doing accordingly, even if that means removing them from your list. If you are running a list for a conventions and visitors bureau, then consider that many people on your list may not care about your city after they go to that convention or take that vacation. Perhaps that should mean that you capture that information at collection and then offer options after the trip has been concluded.
Someone who hasn’t followed any calls to action should certainly be removed from your list after a six months or two complete average buying cycles (which ever is longer). It might not have happened overnight, but the love has certainly disappeared.
As the old trope goes, diamonds are forever. Relationships are not. Yes, that includes customer relationships.