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Introduction

The Quest for Event-Driven Marketing

It’s evident: The customer is the most important person for reaching your goals. A customer is a person, not a concept. It is important in your business to get a hold of your customer’s moves, their interests, behavior, their needs and wishes, and how they relate to your company. One of my clients wanted to keep track of his customers’ moves, their needs and desires. His vision was to put more energy in keeping clients, making them both more loyal and more profitable. “I want to follow my customer,” he said. That was more than eight years ago. He was ready for a customer approach in his marketing and sales.
Back then I already had some experience with Event-Driven Marketing (EDM). I asked my client—an international marketing director at a large financial services provider—to have a look at this concept and see how it could fit to his ideas. In my preparations, I wanted to find out more about EDM. I was surprised to find that neither my regular “brick” bookshop nor even the “click” stores like Amazon.com could provide me with a single book dedicated to the subject. That can’t be true!

EDM wasn’t invented yesterday, or even the day before. The term is at least fifteen years old! But not even googling “event-driven marketing” brought up anything worthwhile. Megabyte after megabyte of PowerPoint presentations, and lots of other publications later: still no concise definitions or explanations. No “how to’s” and certainly no models, checklists, or frameworks.

Unbelievable . . .

After all, EDM is the logical next step from direct marketing and database marketing, from customer relationship management (CRM). EDM is a strongly customer-oriented concept, making the most of new media like the Internet, new technologies in the field of databases, and the latest campaign-management software. EDM is results-oriented because through it you try to offer the right message to the right individual customer at the right time.

In short, EDM is for today!

My own experiences with EDM in my day-to-day consultancy work have been totally positive. So why has the concept failed to catch on in a big way with modern- thinking, modern-working businesses? Perhaps because it is not easy to implement. You need considerable experience with database marketing; your personnel, customer, and IT processes must be in order; and you have to really understand your customers and all their needs and wishes. No easy task!

So EDM is not for the simple-minded.

The book you are now reading is the first dedicated, comprehensive publication on the subject of event-driven marketing. As well as describing our own experiences in this field, it contains inspiring contributions from a number of leading specialists. Follow That Customer! combines theoretical background and visionary thoughts with companies’ real-life experiences with event-driven marketing. We discuss how EDM fits in with marketing and sales, the new marketing terminology it uses and EDM process management. We also elaborate on subjects like loyalty, ROI, analytics, databases, and legislation, thereby providing a full handbook for those who want to make EDM work for them.

The original Dutch edition of this book was an instant bestseller in its field. Within a year it had become essential business reading, with every subsequent edition— it is now in its fifth—selling fast. And not only did the readers devour it, they used it! The theories we set out have been put into practice, with many companies making a lot of money from event-driven marketing as a result.

When we started working on a new book on event-driven marketing for the US, it gave us the chance to completely revisit the material from it’s European “predecessor.” The first edition might have been a prize-winner (winning the Best Marketing Book Award), but as with most projects there were parts that we would have liked to have done differently in hindsight. Besides, marketing constantly evolves, making it necessary to update some chapters. This being the first international edition, we decided that it needed more international content.While we kept one of the original Dutch cases on baby care we decided, with the help of some contributors, to add cases from the US and Scandinavia. These cases illustrate how the theories from the previous chapter(s) can be put to practice. Six case studies illustrate what really happens when event-driven marketing programs are set up. What’s more, we teamed up with renowned database marketing expert Alan Weber who added his own US perspective and knowledge to most of the theoretical chapters. The end product outshines the original and, we hope, is a solid addition to marketing literature.

So who is it for?

For those who want to stand out from the crowd. Those who want to outperform their competitors and serve their customers as effectively as possible. Those seriously committed to improving their margins. Because isn’t that what it is ultimately all about? So . . . Follow that customer!

We also had great pleasure writing this book, and that makes a real difference. I hope that you enjoy reading it just as much, because that is why we wrote it. And good luck with following your own customers!

Egbert Jan van Bel
September 2010