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Adventures in DASM*

Adventures in DASM*

* My book “Our Emperors Have No Clothes” had a working title of “Dumb Ass Stupid Management,” which the publisher was too chicken to use.

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A firm named JL Powell started sending me expensive, hard copy catalogs out of the blue. I’m assuming they purchased some special lists. Their casual clothing is expensive, e.g., $230 for a pair of deck shoes.

The first time I ordered, I was told one item couldn’t be shipped for two weeks. It finally took three. The second time I ordered, a few days ago, I received an email back several hours later telling me my order was cancelled because the item was no longer available. This from a new catalog I had received that day.

There will be no third time I order. When I sent an email requesting my name be taken off all lists, an actual human being wrote back to tell me she’s happy to do so—no questions about why, or my experiences, or my interests.

Now, this company is spending major bucks on advertising and promotion. I had never heard of them and I am squarely, apparently, in their demographic target. After making the investment, successfully finding me, AND enticing two orders, they are now on my black list, and I’m inaugurating them here into DASM. (By comparison, the general manager of Bergdorf Goodman in New York called me personally this morning about a problem I was having there.)

Marketing has these elements:
1. Identifying value
2. Identifying targets for that value
3. Successfully attracting those targets
4. Converting the attraction in to a purchase
5. Sustaining the purchase into loyalty, repeat business, and referrals

If you stop after point 3, you might as well do what a friend of mine did in the Mirage Casino in Las Vegas: He handed his money to the dealer, but refused the chips the dealer assembled. “Let’s just cut out the middle stuff,” he said, “and you just keep it all.”

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 4

  • July 6, 2009

    One of the greatest DASM crimes may be lack of training for those low-paid, customer-facing employees.

    How many high-potential customers have quickly become vindictive detractors, because of one bad experience at the hands of a minimum-wage employee that management failed to train?

  • Alan Weiss

    July 7, 2009

    1. I agree. Poor customer service is always a management problem, not just in training, but in monitoring, rewarding, etc.

    2. My point in this story is really that an effective strategy can be undone in an instant when tactics aren’t in place to support it.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • Mike Meikle

    July 16, 2009

    I was looking up the “DASM” acronym and it lead me to this post. I completely agree with Mr. Watson’s point. From my consulting perspective, it seems that customer-facing employees are generally high turnover and thought of as expendable cost-centers by management. These are the same folks who pass around Power Point slides all day for the countless meetings they attend. 🙂

  • Alan Weiss

    July 16, 2009

    People are assets. Equipment are expenses. Most companies reverse the two and invest in the wrong things.

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