Q. You’re one of the few marketing writers who are every bit as passionate about retention marketing as they are to acquisition. Is retention marketing getting more respect now than it used to, and why?
A. Thanks for the kind words Marc. And let me modify your use of terminology slightly. I don’t believe the word “retention” has a place in 21st century marketing. To me retention means holding onto something that you own . . . that you’ve captured. One does not capture nor retain customers. Many marketing executives continue to respond to our complex, rapidly changing and increasingly uncertain markeplace with simplistic, cause-and-effect thinking. This is very dangerous. Just ask General Motors.
The marketplace is not a mechanistic, Newtonian model where you try to influence the behavior of chemicals in a beaker, balls on a pool table, or customers in a database. Appealing to customers (existing or potential ones) is a subjective blend of art and science, where you’re subtlety attempting to influence feelings (and thus, behavior). You’re dealing with the perceptions and actions of intelligent, curious, socially influenced human beings. People whose preferences change constantly, especially in the United States of Extravagance.
Ownership Model Seriously Out-Of-Date
I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.