Missed opportunities at your front door

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Andy Roussel
Andy Roussel
We hear a lot of talk about “target marketing” these days. About driving a higher response rate to marketing communications with heavy versioning and personalization. There's even a trade magazine titled Target Marketing. Savvy marketers know that the more relevant the content, the greater the likelihood a recipient will respond to a call to action. In a world of “give me what I want — where I want it — exactly when I want it,” consumers are rejecting the old modes of content delivered in thick catalogs or unwieldy websites that require time-consuming searches for the exact content that's most valuable to them. So why are otherwise intelligent marketing organizations ignoring this fact?

Hard to say. But it's easy to find examples of these missed opportunities. All I had to do was look at what arrived yesterday in my home mailbox. Here's what I found, together with a brief comment on some of the opportunities missed.

Boating magazine renewal notice – B/W, printed one side – I'm told I'll be “lost at sea” if I don't renew!  Missed opportunities?

  • Use color to highlight upcoming articles and demonstrate the vibrancy of their periodical.
  • Highlight content on my personal interests – power boating and saltwater fishing (I even answered a survey from them six months ago advising them of that!).

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) balance notice for my wife. Very basic – B/W and a simple statement.  Missed opportunities?

  • Use the document to continue to educate on qualified uses of the account!
  • Promote other FSA programs!

Banking promotion – 6×9 color folded card in an envelope – An invitation to invest my tax refund in one of their money market programs.  Missed opportunity?

  • Use my age, hobbies, recent purchases, etc., to promote why I should save that tax refund (and with them!). Third-party data is available to fill in gaps in their knowledge of me. Use it!

Invisible dog fence ad on a postcard.  Missed opportunities?

  • The dealer is named on the front of the card, but there's no reference to tell me it's a local company.
  • They guessed right. We have a dog! But why not show an image of the same breed as ours in the front photo (it's not that hard; my pet supplies provider does it all the time). And use my dog's name. I happen to know it's available from multiple sources.

A Disney credit card offer showing the new “Toy Story” design highlighted on the envelope.  Missed opportunity?

  • My kids are college age. I don't have grandkids yet. Why would I be attracted to a “Toy Story” Visa credit card? A more relevant photo on the card (like a boat!) would have caught my attention.

Regional newspaper.

  • We'll give them a pass. Other than some potential front-page sticker versioning by neighborhoods or interests, there's not a lot of potential here for heavy targeting.

So there you go. Another day, another handful of missed opportunities for targeted marketing delivered right to my front door. And honestly, none of the opportunities is that difficult to implement. Even when the targeting doesn't necessarily feature a specific product offer, it can make me look more closely at whom they are and what they're trying to communicate. In the end, the campaign owners will likely wonder why their response rate was so low.

Take a look at your incoming mail tonight and consider how it could have been positioned to be more relevant—and attention getting—to you. I'll bet you'll find a lot of missed opportunities. Now, where's the trash can?

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