Today’s post features something that arrived through my letter box the other day that I want to use to illustrate a point.
The image below is of a postcard-style direct mail piece that I received. Now, I don’t want to lambast the company involved but think it illustrates an important point that I’d like to make about how we communicate with our customers old and new.
Receiving the postcard, my first impressions was that I liked the way that they were reaching out to their existing customers to say ‘Hi’, that we like you and we’d love to see you again. Despite the fact that I am not a customer of this company and haven’t been since we moved to our current address (over 3 years ago) I thought that it must be addressed to an old resident and that their name needed to be cleaned from their database.
However, on flipping over the postcard I saw the following:
What struck me about this was that it wasn’t addressed to a previous resident and that it was a general piece of direct mail sent in the hope of driving new business. While I am not saying that direct mail doesn’t work, I think that we need to think carefully about how we communicate with our customers old or new and what messages we send when we do try and communicate with them.
This marketing piece raised some interesting questions about this company and their marketing for me, such as:
- Do they segment their customers?
- Do they talk to different customers in different ways? and
- If they don’t segment their customers, have they thought about the impression it makes on their customers old and new when they send out this type of marketing communication and offer?
The answers to these questions are obviously ‘No’ to each one but my next question was:
- What then does that imply in the minds of the customer?
Does it imply that, even if I am your customer, that you don’t care enough or are not willing to put in the effort to know and use my name and make it more targeted and personal? How does that make me feel? Is there any incentive therefore, beyond the offer, to be loyal?
This may seem like a bit of a rant, and it is a bit, but I think my point is an important one if we are to develop better relationships with our customers and that is: Don’t treat your existing customers like potentially new customers as that’s no way to build a relationship that is characterized by loyalty and recommendation.
Why do you think companies still send out these type of mixed messages and still expect customers to be loyal?
Answers on a postcard or in the comments below
Thanks to Kaitlin M for the main post image.