Stanley Marcus (1905-2002) was an executive of the Dallas (TX) luxury retail store Neiman Marcus from 1950 to 1976. Marcus’s book, Quest for the Best (1979), contained “Marcus’s Laws, or Principles Not Taught in the Business Schools.” One principle was:
“Customers are people; consumers are statistics.”
Marcus believed that “consumer” was a marketing research term, but “customer” was what the people in his stores called themselves. Marcus’s law/principle has been included in many business books, usually reversed as “consumers are statistics; customers are people.”
Wikipedia: Stanley Marcus
Harold Stanley Marcus (April 20, 1905 – January 22, 2002) was an early president (1950–1972) and later chairman of the board (1972–1976) of the luxury retailer Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas, which his father and aunt had founded in 1907. During his tenure at the company, he also became a published author, writing his memoir Minding the Store and also a regular column in The Dallas Morning News. After Neiman Marcus was sold to Carter Hawley Hale Stores, Marcus initially remained in an advisory capacity to that company, but later began his own consulting business, which continued until his death. He served his local community as an avid patron of the fine arts and as a civic leader. In a chapter titled “Mr. Stanley” — the name by which Marcus was known locally for decades — in his 1953 work Neiman-Marcus, Texas, Frank X. Tolbert called him “Dallas’ most internationally famous citizen” and worthy of being called “the Southwest’s No. 1 businessman-intellectual.”
Quest for the Best
By Stanley Marcus
New York, NY: The Viking Press
Principles Not Taught in the Business Schools
5. Customers are people; consumers are statistics.
8 October 1979, Chicago (IL) Tribune, pg. B8:
ADVICE he (Stanley Marcus—ed.) passes on to customers ("customers are people, consumers are statistics") Involves the cultivation of taste.
A Passion for Excellence:
The Leadership Difference
By Thomas J. Peters and Nancy Austin
New York, NY: Random House
Consumers are statistics. Customers are People. —Stanley Marcus, chairman emeritus, Neiman-Marcus
Dallas (TX) Morning News
‘Merchant Prince’ tells the story of Dallas’ own Stanley Marcus
By Alan Peppard
Published: 09 December 2009 02:38 AM
Even a cursory glance at Stanley Marcus: The Relentless Reign of a Merchant Prince (Eakin Press, $19.95, available Dec. 22) reveals a truth about the guiding light of Neiman’s:
Alan’s Last Word
“Consumers are statistics, customers are people.” Stanley Marcus
The Cult Branding Company
Consumers are Statistics. Customers are People.
by Aaron Shields
Mar 28, 2010
Never in my retail experience have I seen a “consumer” enter a store. I’ve seen lots of “customers,” for that’s what they call themselves…The development of the whole consumer movement came as a result of the failure of retailers and manufacturers to give adequate attention to the physical and psychological needs of the customer.
- Stanley Marcus
Rather than focus on what a customer really wants, marketers have focused on what the average, hypothetical, composite customer — “the consumer” — should want. But the consumer isn’t a person, it’s a statistic on piece of paper; it’s a poor simulacrum of a real person.
Treating customers as the statistical consumer results in initiatives that some people may like, but nobody ever loves.
Book of Business Quotations
Edited by Bill Ridgers
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Consumers are statistics. Customers are people.
H. Stanley Marcus, businessman (1905-2002)
New York City • Work/Businesses • (1) Comments • Wednesday, September 26, 2012 • Permalink
A very interesting post. I like reading your article. Thank you so much for updating this.