The mailman dropped off today’s load at Spur Communications a little while ago. There in the heap was yet another “personalized” direct mail campaign. “Hi Dave,” proudly displayed on the face of the post card from a printer that I’ve never heard of before. The next piece of mail in the stack shouts, “Hi Rachel,” followed by “Hi Scott,” “Hi Matt,” all the way to “Hi Isaiaha,” Who’s Izzey-Aha? All of them have the same offer and imagery for each recipient. The only aspect of personalization that they use is to print the recipient’s first name in great big type. This isn’t personalization. It’s impersonalization.
My favorites are the ones where they spell your name in Scrabble letters, or beach towels, or clouds. It makes me want to do one with a basset hound writing my name in yellow snow. I feel sorry for the folks who send these things out. It is such a wildly misguided use of extraordinary technology. There is no relationship between the sender and receiver so it seems ludicrous to me to feign intimacy. We’ve collected a drawer full of them at Spur – we call them “Hi Bobs.”
Push marketing for winning new business that relies solely on first name personalization is, in my opinion, a waste of time. Generally these days, broadcasted push marketing is struggling while pull marketing using social media is having a lot of success. Social media is a way for customers to raise their hand and choose you – pull marketing. This is now the best way to grow your new customer base.
But that doesn’t mean that the variable data technology used to create those silly Hi Bobs should be completely abandoned in favor of social media. A far more effective strategy is to use variable data to tailor the message for the target audience in order to expand relationships with your newfound social media buddies. This is a very powerful way to continue the conversations that are generated through social media.
Spur Communications works in the health, wealth, and wisdom markets. Our clients are in the healthcare, financial services, higher education, and not-for-profit sectors. We are very successful in using 1:1 multi-channel marketing in concert with social media to connect with individuals to drive conversions and achieve results. The response rates for highly personalized marketing that delivers relevant messages based on an exacting use of customer data are truly fantastic. It is a way to demonstrate that you have listened to your customers and they are thrilled when they find companies that actually listen.
In four upcoming blog posts Spurspectives will take a closer look at the integration of social media in a 1:1 multi-channel marketing mix. Each post will individually explore issues pertinent to healthcare, financial services, higher education, and the not-for-profit sectors. Keep your eyes peeled for updates on your favorite social site and feel free to join in the discussion.