The Customers We Keep Pt.1


We all know the motto, “the customer is always right,” – but what if we’re just not that into them? Sure, patronage helps us pay the bills. But some of us are guilty of wishing our customers walked the red carpet, not cleaning up after those who do. And that type of thinking has no place in building a business. Even if you hate your customers, you can grow with them anyway. All you need to remember is customers come for your solutions. And if you want to keep them loyal, pay attention to their needs. Unfortunately, one popular publication learned that lesson too late.


“You don’t seem to like your readers,” the newly installed editor-in-chief said to the CEO /publisher of the iconic publication. The magazine had been around for nearly 100 years. Still, the new CEO no longer saw value in the readers who helped the flagship magazine become a household name. 

Leadership wanted an affluent clientele, readers that luxury-item advertisers coveted. The loyal but low-to-middle-income earning audience could never get the attention of those big-ticket item sellers. The EIC was correct; the publisher wanted a new audience. Eventually, the publication’s nearly 2 million in circulation dwindled to nothing.

The CEO-publisher blamed digital competition for their chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Except the readers didn’t leave, the publication abandoned its readers. And with it, they threw away the most challenging part of growing any business, gaining customer trust and loyalty while maintaining excellent customer relationships.

Let me put this in a digital perspective. Imagine sending out this newsletter to nearly two million email addresses of people who voluntarily signed up for Brand News Quarterly. I look at the list and say, “Nah… these people aren’t valuable. I then proceed to not archive but DELETE two million email addresses. Now, I’ll have to start at zero and build my list of elusive customer prospects. Except Brand News Quarterly is an unlikely destination for this unknown reader. You’re correct if that doesn’t seem like a good business decision. It’s not. 

Yet, that’s how the unnamed publication began to lose its readership. The publisher didn’t blow up their mailing list – they ignored their customer base.    

The bankrupt publication sabotaged its brand loyalty gains in search of new customers. They also made three missteps during their restructuring.

  • Rebranding during the print industry’s digital disruption phase,
  • without creating a new destination for the prospective audience,
  • While abandoning their loyal audience.


The unnamed publication owned its customer base of nearly two million print subscribers. This large and receptive audience would receive the magazine before it hit the newsstands. Since these almost two million readers learned about the “next big thing” before anyone else, they promoted the stories to others before the magazine went public. Then about ten days later, an additional quarter-million magazines hit the newsstands and grocery stores. In the late 80s, the term for shared media was “pass-on readers.” This publication’s pass-on readership measured 5.2 per copy. So, 2 million subscribers generated nearly 7 million more monthly readers.

This publisher didn’t need a digital platform interface to reach their customers. The product went directly to the subscriber’s home. They didn’t need to go through social media, amazon, or even bookstores to reach their customers. But sadly, by the second decade of the 2000s, Bankruptcy liquidation forced the publisher to sell the magazine’s brand name, photo archives, and cosmetic line.

I’ll let you in on a secret – prominent business leaders aren’t the only group who throw away customers. Startups and soloists may ignore customers who’ve purchased their “solution” products. Some entrepreneurs fail to consider their goods and services as solution-based products that can set the foundation for a new business. Same for creatives, especially since their art attempts to answer a question or solve a riddle. The bottom line, if they focused on a solution, they’d soon meet their customer. The next step that follows: is keeping them. And if done right, those customers will keep them in business.

In Part 2 of “The Customers We Keep,”

We’ll show how noticing the problem helps build an entire business based on its solution. We’ll also provide an example of how most of the profit comes from your ownership of the customer relationship.

Oh Stewardess: Expiring Hotel Reward Points

RIDE OR DINE UPDATE: "Staycay ->Vacay"  Marriott Bonvoy members link your account with Uber and UberEats. Get 3x points/dollar on rides and 2x-6x points/dollar on dining!  Check your Uber App for details. 07/26/21
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Rewards Exchange Partners

Heads up!

Choice hotels sent notice that my rewards points are set to expire. I hate to lose anything, so it sent me into a panic. OK, I’m exaggerating. I have options, and if you do too, if you find yourself in this position.

If you’ve accumulated a few points (1000 or more) but aren’t looking to book a hotel stay anytime soon – here are few things, you can do with your rewards points.

  • 1- Book a room for you, a friend, and/or a family member. Reserve the room in both your names. If you’re not going to check in – your guest can and stay on your free points.  (Disclaimer: Verify your hotel’s policy.  In my case, my daughter checked in ahead of my arrival (I was a no-show), and she was fine.)
  • 2 – Donate reward points to your favorite charity through your rewards program.   Choice Rewards has an option that allows you to donate with a minimum of 1000 points to organizations such as the American Red Cross.
  • 3 – Transfer points to your airline rewards account.   Choice has a partnership with United Airlines, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines, to name a few.  A minimum of 6000 points nets 1800 loyalty points on SWA.
  • 4 – Buy retail goods, magazines, gift cards, and even Facebook gift cards? Christmas shopping with rewards points is a win for stocking stuffers and gifts.
  • 5 – Cruise away -redeem hotel stays and airline miles for cruise credits.
  • 6 – And there’s more… but first, you must sign up.

You’re going to travel anyway – might as well join the rewards program of your favorite hotels, motels, trains, planes, auto rentals, et al.  Who knows, if you collect enough points, all your travel might be for free.

Oh Stewardess | Houston, We Have a Problem

But finding your way around George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby (HOU) Airports in Houston is not one.

Houston airport System (Fly2Houston) will be the first in the world to offer way-finding, turn-by-turn, technology, and for some travelers, the best news is no new APP is required.  Once the traveler enters one of the Houston airports, they can launch their device’s browser to connect to the interactive map.  According to the news release, airport officials sent on Monday,

“Maps Online,” from Locus Labs, provides

 “transit path” directions that will take the user from their originating point to their destination with the most direct and efficient path possible.”

As someone who was once based in Houston, you will want to go off the beaten path.   There are retail shops and a bunch of eateries that offer everything from delicious Asian foods to “Real Food” (not a description but the name of the restaurant), where you can get the best pulled-pork, corn on the cob, barbecue chicken with generous sides of sweet potatoes, baked spuds,  cornbread, grilled vegetables or raw fresh vegetables for the best tossed -salads.

If you are looking for last-minute gifts such as cowboy boots and Stetson hats, this new map, turn-by-turn technology will be your best travel companion to find all the Houston Airport Systems has to offer.

There’s just one drawback, IAH (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) boasts of the best on-time performance – so you won’t have too much time to spend there between flights.

Happy Travels!