Having complained about Neiman Marcus’s intrusive e-mail in Chapter 1, it seems only fair that I start this discussion of permission in action by giving kudos to some of Neiman’s offline activities. When my 2002 Neiman Marcus Gold Cards arrived in the mail, they were accompanied by a letter from Jeffrey Netzer, vice president of customer programs. In addition to thanking me for my past patronage and participation in the Gold Card Program, Mr. Netzer asked me to take a few minutes to complete and return an enclosed postage-paid reply form “so we may tailor this year’s Neiman Marcus Gold Card program to your preferences.”
The form asked for my preferred method of communication: telephone, postcard, or e-mail. It asked for several other preferences that would help them tailor messages to my interests, like my preferred leisure travel destinations abroad, and offered a gift reminder service, InCircle:
InCircle would love to be of service to you in your gift shopping. Would you be interested in a gift reminder service that would help you fulfill your gift desires?
If yes, of what types of dates would you like to be reminded?
___Spouse’s birthday ___Anniversary ___Family member’s birthday
___Friend’s birthday ___Other
What type of gifts would you like us to recommend?
___Apparel ___Accessories (Shoes, Handbags)
___Home decorative (Crystal, Furnishings) ___Jewelry
One could say this is a bit self-serving on Neiman’s part as an obvious pitch for more of my business, but if the company can tailor their offers and services to me and begin to allow me to manage the relationship, they have earned my business. And, not so incidentally, my thanks.
That’s the whole point: Permission marketing not only makes for a willing customer, but it can also drive business.