January 27

Lions & Tigers & Bears &… Postcards? Customer Retention Marketing


My friend’s mom’s favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.  Every time it’s on cable, she watches it.  She collects figurines of the characters.  It’s not a stretch to say she’s mildly obsessed with it.  So a couple years ago, I read that the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra would be showing the film on a big screen…with the full orchestra playing the score live!  I thought to myself, mom will definitely like my Christmas present better than my brother’s this year.

So I bought the tickets, gave them to my mom, and a few days before New Year’s, we were off to see The Wizard.  I have to admit, it was a good time.  It was great to see the film on a big screen, and the SLSO played the score beautifully.  Most of the players (female AND male) even wore ruby red slippers.  Mom was happy.

In the roughly two years since attending that performance, I bet I have received about 30 letters, postcards, and brochures in the mail from the SLSO.  Some have urged me to purchase season tickets, others have alerted me to upcoming special events, and still others simply provided general information about the organization.

Not once have I received an email, even though I provided my email address when I purchased the tickets.  Not only would this be a less expensive customer retention method (printing and postage aren’t cheap), but it would also allow the symphony to track what I (and everyone else they email) am responding to.  If I toss a postcard without even reading it, or toss it after reading it, or visit the SLSO website after reading it but don’t buy tickets, or ultimately do buy tickets…they really have no idea what that decision looks like.  But if they conducted an email campaign, they could very easily see if I opened the email, if I clicked on links for more information or to purchase tickets, which subject lines get the best response, etc.

One of the greatest advantages of online advertising is its trackability and measurability.  Marketers can test different offers to determine what works best, then use that knowledge to refine future efforts.  And by analyzing the data, they can target specific messages to specific customers to achieve maximum results.  As Dorothy said, “We’re not in Kansas anymore”.  Online marketing has changed the landscape dramatically–but with a little brains, a little heart, and a little courage–marketers can easily follow the yellow brick road to success.


Customer Retention

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