(re: About running a business …) “… The thing that really caught my attention was the christtmas disks you sent out, in particular, how did you handle customers who did not celebrate christmas? Was there a specific question on a registration card, or just a crapshot?
(if it was a crapshot, do you think it created any “bad blood” between Sierra and customers?)
Also, do you recall the process a customer had to go through to remove themselves from your mailings? …”
I was young and naive in those days, as was the world around us. I’m not sure political correctness had even been invented yet. Nor had the word spam.
We sent everyone Christmas cards, because I didn’t realize that not everyone celebrated Christmas. Certainly, we knew that not everyone was christian, but it didn’t occur to us that there were people who might be offended by Christmas. I haven’t played the “christmas cards” we sent in chronologic sequence, but my guess is that you can see my, and Sierra’s, coming of age, in how they portray Christmas. My guess is that the early ones had scenes with mangers, then we shifted to “Seasons Greetings” and finally to not sending a card at all. I guess they call that progress…
As to the spamming issue: we never worried about it, and had no process for removing someone from our list. If someone called in, which happened VERY infrequently, we deleted them from the database — but, it really wasn’t an issue. No one received our mailings who hadn’t spent money on our products. In fact, it was the other way around — we wouldn’t mail you anything UNLESS you purchased our products. If you bought a product, but then didn’t buy anything else, we dumped you from our list. If you add together what we sent out, we had a $15-20 investment per year in each person on our list. If they weren’t spending $150-200 on software, we couldn’t justify sending them the newsletters, catalogs, etc. I didn’t really think of what we sent as marketing literature — we were helping people decide which of our products to buy. We were helping them make informed decisions, and distributing valuable information about strategies for playing our products.
This was more than a quarter century ago. The world was different then…