Retention Via Recognition Marketing

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Whether you're visiting your favorite neighborhood bar, buying coffee at your local deli or receiving an e-mail, it's all about you. If marketers forget that simple concept, they can forget about making an impression on you.

When I walk into my corner deli, they hand me my large coffee with skim milk and two sugars. I don't have to wait in line. But when I receive e-mail from a company, it is often part of a group list and has no connection to me personally.

With the emergence of e-mail as the preferred choice of communication for almost 100 million Americans, the need for marketers to use this medium to its full potential has become vital to the success of almost any business.

It is called recognition marketing. It will make your consumers say, "It's nice they know my name and my likes and dislikes."

Here are ways your customers will feel they are being recognized in a positive way:

• Personalized newsletters.

• Name of recipient in "To" and "Subject" fields and within body of every e-mail.

• When a customer goes back to a site, there is no need to submit information each time.

• Products and services that are of interest to a particular customer.

Personalized communication with a targeted audience provides a much better return on your marketing investment. This was illustrated in "Customer Marketing Method" by Jay and Adam Curry, who wrote, "The top 20 percent of customers can deliver 80 percent of revenues. Twenty percent of customers can deliver more than 100 percent of profits. Existing customers can deliver up to 90 percent of profits."

Case study: How you choose to use a database defines its value. The ability of a quality customer relationship management program to translate a database into money is limitless. Coach and its Web site,, are an ideal example of how an offline company has successfully entered the online space with the help of a well-developed CRM program. offers every visitor a registration opportunity. This is just the initial step of its CRM program, however. Each time you visit the site and log on, makes available to its registered users several highly personalized options, including the ability to change your billing address, log-in name or password. It also allows users to create, modify or e-mail a wish list.

Also available is the ability to view your purchase history and to create, edit or delete gift reminders. Another feature offered to registered users is an address book where a user can store multiple shipping addresses as well as addresses for people to whom the user frequently sends Coach products. These are all incarnations of a thorough and well-devised customer relationship marketing strategy that identifies each user individually as well as offers enhanced, personalized capabilities.

By providing personalized communications, historical tracking and constant correspondence with its customers, Coach has turned e-mail addresses in a database into loyal customers who continue to make many purchases from every line of Coach products. With customer acquisition costs increasing quickly, companies such as Coach have a huge advantage over those without access to user or market data.

Offline companies. Even offline companies that maintain large databases of customers but do not yet have the means to market to them online have advantages, particularly if the brand name is well-established. Smart companies are starting to get permission to communicate with their constituencies electronically, which can save an organization thousands or even millions of dollars.

Most companies already have accepted the Internet as a viable medium for business. Those that have not are giving their competitors a big head start when it comes to increasing profitability. To turn marketing dollars into legitimate value most effectively, companies that have established an online strategy are focusing on one-to-one marketing efforts that produce quantifiable results.

Customer acquisition costs are rising. This is why the implementation of a sound eCRM strategy is a necessity, especially in today's market, where expenditures on customer acquisition initiatives are being pulled back.

The ability to identify and enhance customer relationships through event-triggered, one-to-one marketing campaigns, interactive surveys and personalized newsletters offers several benefits.

The key advantages of a well-developed strategy include increasing revenue through cross-selling and upselling other products or services, decreasing customer service costs via automated responses and intelligent routing, and streamlining efficiencies through the automatic processing of subscribe and unsubscribe requests.

The results are decreased costs as a result of time savings, decreased capital expenditures and a limit on the amount of money required to maintain close relationships with your customer base.

Recognition marketing works. In contrast to banner advertising, which is not a good acquisition tool, recognition marketing targets specific demographics and produces a higher click-through rate because the audience is much more interested in your message. The click-through rate of banners is steadily declining, and the share of marketing dollars devoted to banners is increasing. What's going on here?

Measurement criteria still revolve around the number of impressions and click-throughs garnered. E-mail marketing and recognition marketing provide more qualified leads and more repeat purchasers, resulting in higher return on investment in the long run.

Compared with print and banner advertising, e-mail marketing has a low cost, more rapid deployment and quick direct response opportunities. In addition, the audience is highly targeted depending on the list being rented or the select segments of an existing internal database being targeted.

Whether you are a nonprofit organization that needs to communicate with your audience for less or a financial service firm that needs to provide more timely information, recognition marketing can help you reduce costs and increase profitability. Recognition marketing is vital to conducting business in today's information-laden economy.

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