Hi, I’m Mihaela, and through Build Up Lab I share my ideas about business, marketing and how to live a work life that makes you feel proud, successful and fulfilled. I teach and consult on the topics of direct marketing, customer retention, customer loyalty and how to grow your business using customer centric and sustainable methodologies.

The art of customers

Did you know that it’s possible for your business to be filled with loyal, adoring and highly profitable customers?

The word “customer” comes from the Latin word “consuetudinem”, which means “tradition, familiarity, practice, habit. It describes a person who comes back again and again, who feels like family, who benefits your business for life and who also gains benefit from your business for life. It describes a customer who feels connected to your business - a loyal and highly profitable customer. Back in the day, businesses were filled with such customers.

Back in the day, customers were treated like family. Keeping customers was a given. Today, keeping customers is one of the most challenging problems we have in business.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten about the art of customers. We’ve been trained to treat strangers better than customers and to focus on what we don’t have, instead of appreciating and respecting what we do have. I don’t know why our minds work this way, maybe it’s the fear of missing out or maybe it’s the fear of looking in. What I do know is that most businesses consistently lose profit, joy and success because they don’t focus on the customers they already have. Instead, they run around frantically trying to capture more and more prospects, only to get them and then to forget them.

But you can be different. You can allow every customer to love you and buy from you for life. You’ll win both repeat as well as new business this way. When you treat your customers with respect and appreciation, not only will they give you their loyalty, but strangers will also stampede to buy from you, because they too will want to join the special “club” to which they’ve noticed your customers belong.

How I became a marketer

My career in marketing began without much planning. In 2004, on a sunny day, a friend came to visit. We stood next to my kitchen table. I, a young senior in college looking for a job, she, a wise adult woman who had already graduated a long year ago. She advised me, “marketing seems interesting.” I don’t know if it was because she said these words in a way that seemed juicy to me, or because the sun shined brightly through her hair as she said them, or because it was just meant to be, but when she said these words, I felt something move and wake up in my body. I had no idea what marketing was at the time. But after my friend left, I became curious, and so, in the most uneventful of ways, my career in marketing began.

Since then, I’ve had an interesting career and I feel blessed to have worked with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in the field. Smart people, with lots of smart marketing strategies under their belt, and often with a big heart as well. My first real job was at a direct marketing company, which at the time was called Redcats USA. We sold products through catalogs that we mailed to our customers’ homes. We cared a lot about our customer data, as it was data driven strategies that helped us make money. Later, I worked for Gucci, and then for Ralph Lauren, where I was a Director of Global Customer Intelligence and Experience Management. In between, I started an online shop that sold organic baby clothing, I got an MBA and a M.S. in Direct Marketing from NYU and I consulted and coached clients.

Why I love marketing & direct marketing

What is business? People will answer in different ways. To me, business is about making a difference in others’ lives. Marketing is an efficient way to make a difference in others’ lives while also increasing your profits (talk about win-win!), because the way you talk to your customers can make them feel differently, seen, heard and appreciated. Direct marketing, if you can put aside the “but wait, there’s more” infomercials for a second, is about building a one to one relationship with your customers. Direct marketing, CRM, customer retention and loyalty are my core areas of expertise.

The common thread among my areas of expertise is the idea of creating customer relationships, which I view as quintessential to building a highly profitable and fulfilling business. A business can’t exist without customers. A business can’t last without repeat customers. Our work wouldn’t be known and savored if it wasn’t for the people who buy it and thus access it. As business owners, our deepest responsibility is towards the people who already bought from us, not towards those who didn’t buy yet.

What Build Up Lab stands for

The words “build up” reflect my philosophy that no matter where you are in your work and business right now, you can grow, expand and achieve anything you desire, using the infinite wealth of gifts, resources and willpower you already possess within you. As human beings, we can never stagnate. We either go backwards or we go forward. We’re always building, whether we’re building up, or creating buildup.  Our strength lies in the silence between words - between the words “build” and “up” - the silent thoughts, dreams and deeply seeded aspirations that dissipate the buildup and help propel us on the path to build up. It’s in this silence that we consciously create the growth we want. The words “build up” will remind you to reach for the next level, but they’ll also remind you to stay grounded and avoid buildup.

I believe success is not about the attainment of things. Success starts within and is about being fulfilled while on your journey. We’re all unique. We’ve all had unique life experiences, developed unique desires and were born with unique personalities. Therefore, we’re all on unique journeys. Being successful means that we stay on our own unique journey of growth, with hope, faith and grace.

Thanks for stopping by. I sincerely hope that this is just the beginning to a wonderful relationship. To remain connected to me and to get my best marketing ideas, please sign up for my email newsletter or join me inside my program Lifelong Customers.