Customer Relationship Marketing
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing guarantees double-digit response rates using consensual opt-in customer relationship marketing solutions, customer relationship management and creating integrated marketing solutions
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arrow 17 Important Takeaways from the DMA 09 Annual Conference
This issue features important takeaways from marketers who attended the DMA 09 Annual conference.

Ernan Roman

DMA 09 had many great sessions and speakers. I asked marketers from a variety of industries, countries, and company sizes to share their most important learnings. Their terrific insights are below.

My takeaways are as follows:

Arrow According to most attendees, this economy will not improve in the near term.
Arrow This tough econo mic forecast has positive value. It is forcing companies to ask a fundamental question:

Are they really providing on-going, competitively differentiating value for customers, or is it still more of the same old “Spray and Pray” blasts of  sales “stuff”?
Arrow Per our recent Voice of Customer Research findings, BtoB and BtoC customers feel that marketers are not providing much relevance or value.
Arrow 3 Takeaways from these Voice of Customer findings:
1. In today’s tough environment, marketers will only succeed if they focus on:
Arrow Shifting their thinking from transactions with customer based on immediate term sales
Arrow To engaging with customers to enable them to opt-in and define their broader on-going needs between transaction points.
Arrow This deeper engagement with customers between transaction points will enable marketers to identify many more opportunities to provide value and hence, increase revenue per customer.
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2. This will require a complete re-thinking of “CRM” strategies:
Arrow Must shift from the current emphasis on Customer Relationship Management / Manipulation to…
Arrow Emphasizing the Customer and Relationship and changing from Management to Marketing…since any time you “manage” relationships…they don’t achieve their potential.
3. The good news is that this all translates to the bottom line. Per results tracked by clients who have implemented true relationship driven strategies, double-digit increases in response and revenue are the norm.

With best wishes,


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17 Important Takeaways from the DMA 09 Annual Conference

ATB David Daigle
Manager, Direct Marketing
ATB Financial

Tip 1:

Surveys/VOC’s/Panels/etc. conducted prior to 12-18 months ago have very little worth today due to the economic conditions we find ourselves in (even up here in Canada – but to a lesser degree). The way consumers research, make purchases, save vs. spend, etc. has all been turned on its side due to economic uncertainty. If we are basing business decisions on survey and panel results from prior to the economic crisis, we are making them on old information. Without fully throwing away the old information collected, we need to ensure we are garnering new insights from new surveys, panels, forums, and more specifically Voice of Customer Research communications conducted recently. In fact, the comparison of old vs. new may foster additional insights not even thought of yet.

Tip 2:

Customer Satisfaction is just the even-level playing field; VOC and action upon it is the next level. My fear is that we are way too focused merely on Customer Satisfaction to the point of having our Salary-At-Risk (bonus structure), partially depend upon it anywhere from 10-25%. If CustSat is merely the minimum expected experience of our customer, of course we better be scoring in the 90’s. Otherwise, we are ripe for attrition. We conduct numerous panels, surveys, interactive forums, etc to garner intelligence about our customers. From there, I don’t believe we are appending results to our database. This might be a huge missed opportunity for us. As I am only one hand of the company that doesn’t always know fully what the other hands are doing, your sessions will at least stem good dialogue internally at ATB to confirm we are taking our CustSat and going beyond. Then, it is the next step in gaining Opt-In dialogue with our customers and acting upon it. We got to walk before we run though.

Life Line ScreeningEric Greenberg
Vice President Marketing
Life Line Screening

Tip 3:

“Opting in” is about a lot more than channel preference.

Many companies talk about the fact that their customers have “opted in.” What this usually means is that the customers have agreed to accept whatever emails that a company chooses to send out. “Opting in” is about so much more. It is about taking the time to learn a customer’s preferences – not only for the channel of communication we use, but for the kinds of products and services they are interested in, their needs, and how they would like to engage with us.

Tip 4:

Strong customer service is simply a ticket to entry in the game…customer engagement is what drives repeat purchases.

Many companies feel that strong customer service is not only a major competitive advantage but what drives repeat customer purchases. Ernan’s VOC research would seem to suggest that strong customer service is simply a minimum and expected requirement of our customers. What really drives repeat purchases is a strong feeling of engagement by our customers with our brand and our company.


1-800Flowers.comDavid Siegel
Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy

Tip 5:

Due to the challenges of “short-termism” that exists in corporate America, companies will often focus on the immediate transaction at the expense of the long-term relationship - with the belief that by "getting" the customer now, we will successfully retain the customer.

Often, the opposite is true if the act of "getting the customer" does not truly add value to the customer, engage with the customer and build long-term trust.

A perfect example of this is the proliferation of emails in the ecommerce space. Frequently emailing one’s best customers may lead to more short term sales, but the resulting customer attrition far from compensates for the immediate sales. As organizations, we need to focus on engaging with customers and adding long term value.


AxiomJohn A. Meyer
CEO and President
Acxiom Corporation

Tip 6:

For today’s most successful marketers, the lines are blurring between online and offline channels. If you talk about the digital or offline as additional channel for marketing – You are obviously from the direct mail world.  They’re either looking to integrate these channels, or they’re starting to formulate marketing strategies that are indifferent to the mode of delivery.  They recognize the need to have a full view of the customer life cycle, a view that incorporates different channels for different purposes, different products at different times. Increasingly, these marketers also understand that their future success hinges on the ability to recognize the customer and personalize the message across all channels.

Tip 7:

The companies that make this adjustment early and choose the right business partners to execute are the ones that will benefit most, regardless of market conditions. The ones that can expect to gain optimum business advantage are the ones that place consumer privacy at a premium and gain the trust of individual consumers, who will then be more willing to share their preferences and personal information to keep the commercial cycle moving with minimal friction.

Information Request

Itau UnibancoMarcelo Nogueira de Castro Monteiro
Credit Cards Planning Superintendent
Banco Itau Unibanco

Tip 8:

It is very important to know and understand our customers to improve sales results. VOC Research can be a powerful tool to do that.

Tip 9:

We definitely have to pay attention to the relevance of social networks.


Pitney Bowes Dr. Ramesh A. Lakshmi-Ratan
President, Pitney Bowes DMT

Tip 10:

DMA09 the greatest marketing conference in the world, was full of presentations, conversations, and success stories that provided yet another affirmation of my belief that addressed, context relevant integrated multichannel communications is where the market is going.

Tip 11:

I believe that the world of Customer (and prospect) Communications has moved from anonymous broadcast to relevant targeted messaging and the future will belong to sophisticated marketers that can use data, analytics, multiple media with context and make the relevance appear truly serendipitous.


Lisa Clawson
Senior Marketing Manager
Microsoft Corporation

Tip 12:

It was confirmed at the various sessions I participated in that a vast majority of companies are struggling with the social media phenomena. Definitions of how we go-to-market are evolving as well as the primary KPI's. And as a relationship marketer, I recognized that relationship marketing should not only be accomplished with those customers you have in your database, but that we need to extend our “relationship/customer engagement” into the blogosphere.

Tip 13:

Opt-in relationship marketing is, however, still the most effective way to deliver relevant and efficient marketing.


Taradel Jim Fitzgerald
Taradel, LLC

Tip 14:

I feel I have a better understanding of how to segregate my marketing spend to better influence my larger customers. Currently we spread our marketing budget evenly across prospects and customers. Simply creating three or four levels of customers based on the revenue they generate should lead to more sales and a better informed customer base. This is “short term” take-away.

Tip 15:

The second take-away was a true appreciation for opt in, engagement marketing and the real value it represents. The case studies presented in the workshop show clear and mathematically defensible reasons for full scale implementation of an opt in program. We’ll be moving in this direction as a result over the long term.

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TaradelKenan Begić
Managing Director
Studio Moderna

Tip 16:

Customer satisfaction is not enough. We have to go deeper into the relationship to get loyalty and retention of customers. It means that we always have to ask the customers their opinions, ask for their experience, ask what else we should improve.

Tip 17:

B2B is the same as B2C...I didn't think about this before, but when I compare them it really seems that what relates to customers is the same as what is important to any business partner.



Click here for additional customer relationship management solutions case studies.

We wish you the best of luck in using the Voice-of-Customer-driven 3-Step Marketing Process to achieve double-digit response.

    To read previous newsletters, click here.
    For additional case studies, click here.

Ernan Roman Direct Marketing | 3 Melrose Lane | Douglas Manor, NY 11363 | Phone: 718.225.4151 | Fax: 718.225.4889
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