The Importance of Customer Assimilation

Assimilation pertains to the strategies and supporting tactics of enhancing a buyers’ first-time purchase and post-purchase experience from a company so that a new customers feel compelled to make subsequent purchases and to recommend the company to others. In working with clients, I’ve found that most businesses consider first-time buyers as “active customers”; however, in reality a customer isn’t really a customer until he/she begins making additional purchases after the first one.

The late Bob Stone, a marketing legend, created his Thirty Timeless Direct Marketing Principles.  The second principle was: “The most important order is the second order.  After you have obtained the second order, you have achieved a ‘buying habit’.”

Proof of this became abundantly clear to me while serving the direct marketing needs of a large insurance provider for farmers.  I say that for the following obvious reasons:

Insurance policies carried

Active number of policyholders, Year One Number of policy cancellations Attrition percent Active number of policyholders, Year Three

Persistency Percent

One policy


29,264 40.6% 34,686


Two policies


9,968 17.7% 37,731


Three policies


1,137 7.0% 13,771


Four policies


231 4.3% 5,122


As a long-term policyholder and member of USAA since being commissioned in the Navy 50+ years ago, I can attest to this on a personal basis – beginning only with an automobile policy.  Today, my wife’s car and mine are insured by USAA, our home is insured by USAA, and we carry USAA’s credit cards.

I welcome your questions and/or comments: