A company’s most important asset are its customers.  They are extremely expensive to acquire, but keeping them happy is incrementally inexpensive.  Happy customers will buy more product and stay in programs longer.  They will be more responsive and purchase large multiples of product.

My first job out of college was as a program manager at The Danbury Mint (MBI) overseeing various collectibles (dolls, plates, ornaments, die-cast cars, etc).  Most programs were sold as a one-shot, then converted inshipment (and through follow-up mailings) to the rest of the series (typically a collection of either 4 or 8 items).  If everyone only bought the lead item, the amount of profitable marketing available was minimal.  Through converting customers to the rest of the collection, the average customer actually purchased 2.25 to 2.75 products.  This additional margin allowed us to mail deeper inside, as well as, more outside lists.  Since the lead customers were so expensive to acquire, it was vital that we treated them like gold.  It was essential that products shipped quickly, with packaging that would enhance the customer experience.

DRTV is a fantastic medium that can ramp-up quicker than virtually any other marketing channel.  Unfortunately, too many direct response television marketers focus only on the short term, with a one and done mentality; they often ignore the longer-term value of customers at the expense of immediate profits.  It is important to have diligent inventory management so that shipments are never delayed.  Make sure that you are regularly shipping product to yourself.  How does the product arrive?  What experience is the customer having as he opens your packaging?  Are the proper additional offers arriving in package?

Treating the customer well may be slightly more expensive for today, but invaluable for tomorrow.