Lester Wunderman was the “father of direct marketing,” the forerunner to CRM as we know it today. He founded Wunderman in 1958 on a brilliantly simple premise: Acquire with the intention to retain, and retain with the intention to grow.
Before Wunderman, who died earlier this year at the age of 98, consumer companies spent a great deal of time on the first part and not nearly enough on the second. Customer acquisition has long been the be-all, end-all for marketers. Before Wunderman and his colleagues, once a customer was “won,” usually at a cost via discounting and/or paid media, the whole hunt went back to the beginning. After Wunderman, marketers began to think in terms of “life cycle” marketing. Phase One: Acquire. Phase Two: Grow.