Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Friday, October 22, 2010

Today’s Marketing is Unsustainable

Over lunch with a thoughtful client recently, we got into a discussion about unsustainable marketing. The client mentioned how in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, his company was a practitioner of “Spray and Pray” marketing. They blasted out millions of letters and later, turned to millions of emails for customer acquisition.

For some years it seemed to work. Then an analyst carefully did the numbers and discovered a few things:

  The quality of customers they were acquiring via these “spray and pray” blasts were not high quality, long term customers. Many were actually costing money, given the acquisition costs.
  The belief that “markets are huge” turned out to be a myth.
  The high quality, high value customers were in fact, finite. They needed to be carefully targeted, and harvested.

I recently explored the unsustainable nature of much of today’s marketing, and the alternative, which is truly customer-driven marketing, with Ginger Conlon, the editor of 1 to 1 Magazine and 1 to 1 Blog. She wrote a thoughtful piece, which I think you will enjoy: 

Here are some highlights from that blog:

Roman said that the key to marketing success today is connecting with customers. Data modeling is not enough; neither is throwing more technology at the problem or writing more clever copy. "We can only stop the obscenely wasteful practices of our industry by listening to customers and then changing our practices based on their preferences," he said, adding that he's seen companies achieve consistent double-digit response rates by using the voice of the customer (VOC) to guide their marketing strategies.

Try This:
Take a careful look at your target market. Is it as large as you thought, or are the high value/high profit sources of customers finite?

Ask yourself: Can you afford to strip mine just the top layer of these markets through "spray and pray” blasts, or do you need a more effective strategy to carefully acquire and then cultivate these segments to ensure long term yield?

Think of your target markets as finite, precious and perishable resources and you will begin to develop more effective, more sustainable and higher yield marketing strategies. Soon you will be able to achieve consistent double-digit response rates instead of the anemic, traditional, single digit response.

Monday, October 18, 2010

ERDM Launches New Website

I’m pleased to announce that the new erdm.com went live last week. 
The new site is organized to give visitors easier access to the information they need fast, with concise summaries of our process, our solutions and the results we’ve achieved for numerous Fortune and Growth companies. 
The retooled erdm.com also includes a direct link to my new blog and information about my new book: Voice of the Customer Marketing: A Proven 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend and Stay.
As anyone who does business in the 21st century knows, a website is always a work in progress. We’ll be tweaking and adding content to erdm.com on an ongoing basis. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on the new site. 
I look forward to a lively exchange of information that will help us all get better at listening to the voice of our customers and prospects and engaging them on a deeper, more meaningful level.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Annual Conference

I’ll be participating in lots of exciting events at this year’s Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Annual Conference in San Francisco from October 9-12.

I’m looking forward to attending the PepsiCo social media session, Sephora’s Multichannel Marketing Success, the Social Media Face-Off, and many other great sessions.

I’ll be conducting the following sessions at DMA. Hope to see you there:

Saturday and Sunday, October 9 and 10
2-Day Pre-Conference Workshop, (Back by Popular Demand):
Increase Sales 20% to 30% Using 5 Relationship Marketing Best Practices…Guaranteed
Co-speakers: Lisa Clawson, Senior Marketing Manager, Microsoft, Douglas Stein, President, HMS National, Inc., Eric Greenberg, EVP Marketing, Life Line Screening

Monday, October 11
Presentation for the Danish and Swedish delegations:
Voice of Customer-Driven Marketing Best Practices

Tuesday October 12, 4:15-5:00
Thought Leadership Session:
“Leveraging the ‘Voice of Your Customer’ to Achieve Significantly Greater Engagement and Sales…Across Social and Traditional Media
Co-speaker: Thomas Ryan, CEO, Threadless.com, the crowdsourcing success story.

Finally, thanks to all of you who have been asking me to start this blog. It’s my hope that this forum speaks directly to your needs as marketers and helps us all establish better, deeper relationships with our customers and prospects.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book signing for my newest book: Voice-of-the-Customer Marketing

Please join me for a book signing on Tuesday, October 12 from 1:00-3:00 in the Exhibit Hall at the DMA Resource Center, Booth #1126.

I would like to thank my publisher, McGraw-Hill, and numerous colleagues for their invaluable help during an intense 8-month research and writing process.

If there’s one central theme in Voice of the Customer Marketing, it’s this: Given the whirlwind of new technology and communications options, there is only one constant: the customer. Traditional “Spray and Pray” media blast strategies no longer work. The only strategies which achieve consistent double digit increases in response and revenue have been those which engage the Voice of the Customer and use these insights to develop opt-in driven multi-channel strategies.

Here’s a sample of the advance book reviews:

“Ernan is a leading expert in creating disciplined Voice of Customer–driven marketing processes. If you want to move from just talking about VOC to being a leader in implementing it, you must read this book.”
                                                            --Fred Neil, Global Head of CRM, Dell

 “This is the definitive playbook for this new customer-driven era.”
                                                            --Frank Eliason, Senior Director, National                                                                        Customer Operations, Comcast

“Who can pass up double-digit increases in response and sales? Ernan’s book shows you how to transform your marketing based on his Voice of Customer–driven marketing process.”
                                                            --Joseph J. Incandela, CEO, HMS National

If you want to learn how to make real connections with customers, read this book. Business is no longer about blasting messages to passive consumers; it’s about creating engaging relationships with the fans and evangelists that already love you and finding ways for them to connect with others. Listen to Ernan Roman!”
                                                            --Blake Mycoskie, Founder & Chief Shoe                                                                         Giver, TOMS Shoes

“Having worked with Ernan over the past 12 years, I’ve seen firsthand the effectiveness of his VOC-driven multichannel marketing process. His strategies have enabled us to engage our customers and deliver exactly what they want. This has driven double-digit growth for our company.”
                                                            --Guy Berger, President, Palms Trading                                                                             Company

Click here for more information

Friday, October 1, 2010

How do you to fill the gaps between your customers’ purchases?

Is all you really know about your customers what they buy from you?
Is all they really know about you what they buy from you?

How can you provide useful, relevant information during those long intervals of silence between purchases—information that helps you create deeper engagement with your customers and gives you the competitive differentiation you need in the marketplace?

The only way to do it is to develop a better understanding of your customers’ true needs—and the only accurate way to understand their needs is to ask them.

Try this: Build into every contact, across all media, a few questions. The questions should be asked of all people, whether they are an inquiry, a sale or a service contact:
  • What additional information can we provide to better serve you?
  • Please tell us what interests or needs you have and we'll try to provide useful and relevant information. (If it's not relevant to your needs, we won't send it to you.)
Capture this information in a contact management system and use it to drive increasingly relevant and targeted communications that are value based, not sales focused.  
Let me know how this works for you.