I received a call this afternoon on my cell phone from a dance company that I see perform once, perhaps twice per year.
The company's spring season is around the corner, and the sales representative wanted to offer me, the customer, a package subscription deal that allowed me first crack at reserved seats for shows in May, June and July.
The catch? A subscription entails four different shows in a row, same time and day of the week.
After several minutes ducking the hard sell, I politely declined the offer. I did the same exactly one week ago to another representative. I did the same last year to two or three more.
By most standards, I'm a casual customer. I don't follow the individual shows and seasons, and I only attend when I have the time and money. My ticket purchase history reflects this impulsive streak.
But the company continues to call my cell phone and insist that because I'm a loyal customer -- having seen one show this year -- I ought to consider signing up for three times as many shows I usually see, six months in advance.
An e-mail advertising the new season probably would have been enough to get me to convert. (Cheaper, too.)
If a customer/reader/viewer/user is on your list, it doesn't necessarily mean they're loyal. It means they're interested.
The growth of the web (and RSS, and Digg, and Stumbleupon, and Facebook, and Twitter, and...) has created many loyal customers, but it's also created plenty of interested customers.
Both are valuable.