Don’t give up on prospective customers

Your direct marketing special report (MW 21 May) raised some interesting issues around the changing face of marketing during the recession, but failed to address the issue of exactly who brands should be trying to target. In the current market, the old adage that “it costs five times more to target a new customer than to retain an existing one” is more pertinent than ever. As a result many marketers are focusing their energies purely on retention.

However, by taking this defensive approach, marketers risk losing out to more forward-thinking companies. While it is tempting to adopt a short-term strategy, through clever use of data analysis and digital technology it is possible to target only the most promising prospective customers, while still maintaining a dialogue with the most valued existing customers. Streamlining customer targeting ensures that marketing budget is used efficiently and minimises wastage.

To do this, marketers need to be smart and use their data and technology wisely to deliver communications which are not just personalised by name but individually targeted to each customer. Advances in digital technology combined with sophisticated data analysis have made this an inexpensive reality, and increasing numbers of consumers are beginning to expect this level of individualisation from marketing communications.

In an environment where the customer is king, marketers need to raise the bar and accept that individualised communications and channel choice are not an added benefit but an essential part of any strategy. What will set brands apart will be their ability to identify the most profitable customers and talk to them as individuals.

Jon Cano-Lopez
Managing Director
Ai Data Intelligence

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