2002: The Year We Make Contact (With Our Customers)

Happy New Year, everyone! For those who didn’t see Eric’s last article, he is leaving his post as the writer for ClickZ’s Personalization column and passing the baton on to me. I am very excited about the opportunity to reach and talk to all of you. I intend this column to accomplish a few goals and would love to hear from all of you if you have other ideas in mind. Let me bore you for a little bit with the perfunctory details about who I am and why you should keep reading this column.

For starters, my name is Jack Aaronson, and I am the chief executive officer of my own consulting company, aptly named Jack Aaronson Consulting. This column will not be ongoing advertisement for my professional services, nor will it be a veiled attempt to market my company. I have been in the personalization space since 1996, and I lecture around the world on the best and worst practices in personalization, one-to-one marketing, direct marketing, multi-channel marketing, consumer behavior, and customer experience. Rather than being merely a theorist on these topics, I have been employed at some of the largest companies in the world to actually develop and implement strategies and projects to accomplish real-world goals. The last company I worked for before starting my own practice was Barnes&Noble.com, where I was the director of personalization from 1999 to 2001.

This column is going to be a running dialogue with you (if you allow me) about the best and worst real-world practices and will be filled with practical advice and tips that you can use the next day at work. There are enough books and articles about 30,000-foot visions that are not achievable — especially in this economy. So my approach will be that of a fellow marketer in the trenches, and my articles have two goals:

  • To expand the vision of personalization to include all aspects of customer interaction and write about the best and worst ways to win over your customers and engender loyalty
  • To answer real questions from you about problems you are facing and provide (to the best of my abilities) answers that work, that you can use immediately

If there are other things that you would like me to discuss, you can always email me at clickz@jackaaronson.com.

I would like to devote this first article to the various topics that I want to explore in this column. They include customer loyalty programs, alienation of your users, overpersonalization, personalization over multiple channels, customer service and personalization, cross-selling and up-selling, community, mass marketing and targeted marketing, personalization return on investment (ROI), and much, much more. So email your real-life questions to clickz@jackaaronson.com.

If you have questions about things that you are doing in any of these areas (but certainly not limited to them), please email me! I won’t use your name or company details in the articles, so don’t worry about sending me your issues and thinking that they will be spread across the Internet.

In lieu of a “real” topic this week, let me leave you with this thought: Now that Christmas is over, how many customers whom you persuaded to shop during the fourth quarter of last year do you expect to stay with your company during the first quarter of this year? Do you think that the personalization on your site will keep them? Conversely, do you think that the lack of personalization on your site will hinder loyalty? Let me know, as this will be the topic of an upcoming article.

Until my next installment, which will begin dealing with the topics I talked about before, thank you all for reading my piece and allowing me into your computers. I promise to make the time we spend together worthwhile.

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