We’ve all heard the phrase “the customer is always right”, but in our modern era of marketing, we are often too quick to rely on data points and forget to solicit customer preferences and feedback.

When we “ask” rather than collect or require a data point from a consumer, they are more likely to feel a personal connection with our brand and be more likely to engage with us in the future.

I was reminded of this twice this week.

The first reminder came from a friend forwarding me an email from Neiman Marcus with the subject line “Happy Birthday!”. The email celebrated the fact that Neiman Marcus was turning 109 years old and used it as a platform to encourage their customers to share their own birthdays in exchange for a special offer.


This is a perfect example of asking rather than requiring information. Some brands require birth date when you first subscribe to receive emails. Although most consumers know that by entering their birthday, they will most likely receive some sort of offer, there is still a reluctance to share that level of detail before the relationship with the brand has even begun. By using their own birthday, Neiman Marcus found a natural gateway into asking their own subscribers to share their birthdays and immediately rewarded them for it!

The second reminder took place when I was having a discussion with a client about whether or not a segment of customers would be likely to purchase a new product offering. Our initial data analysis led us to believe that these customers, who were highly engaged, would indeed be interested in trying this new product offering. However, we wanted to validate our analysis with customer feedback, so we went ahead and sent an email survey to this group. What we found was that this group was indeed engaged; we were expecting a 10-15% response rate and more than 50% replied. However, when asked about the new product offering, only 20% showed genuine interest and over a third said they were not at all interested. Through further questioning, we found that they were happy with their current product and were not actively looking to change.


So my encouragement to you is this: continue to collect and use your data to drive hypothesis and business cases, but whenever possible, ask for customer input or feedback rather than requiring them to share or assuming what their behaviors will be. By asking, not only will you have word-of-mouth validation that you can go back to in the future, you will also connect with your customers on a deeper level and exceed their expectations by showing them that you (the brand) are interested in their wants / needs.

If you are interested in reading more on this topic, check out David’s post: Your Customer Is Not A KPI.

If you have any questions about how to apply this practice to your own business, feel free to reach out to us in the Questions tab above.

Good luck out there!