Let’s get really personal

Remember when it was cool when we got a personalized pen in the mail?  Or when the magazine came with our name printed on the cover photo?

Personalization used to be noteworthy.  But like all marketing tactics, after awhile they go from "wow" to "ho hum."   Eventually, we barely notice.

Unless of course, they get it wrong.

Probably like you, I get a lot of those free mailing labels from non-profits seeking a donation.   They know my name, address, and if I have sent them money before.  No doubt, they know much more than that.  They probably have my income range, my giving patterns, whether I have children and what magazines we subscribe to.  They probably know what we had for dinner last night.

20070124labelflower And yet, even know they know all of that…they sent me labels decorated with flowers sprouting out of watering cans and other fresh bloom images.  Hardly the kind of labels most men would find valuable.  (I know, I am generalizing.  Stay with me for the marketing message.)

Is this a big deal? Not in the grand scheme of things. 

But remember, they are competing with the other 3 non-profits that also sent me labels that very same day.   All of them are fine charities, doing good work for our world.  But like most people, I don’t send money to everyone who asks. So I am going to make a choice.

You see…that’s the reality we live in today.  Our products and services are not going up against companies who are incompetent and unable to meet the customers’ needs.  The nuances between our offerings and theirs are minuscule.  So every detail matters.

20070124labelfly It’s not the big things that win or lose business for us. It’s in the details.

These two sets of labels came on the same day.  Both from reputable and worthy organizations.  Wouldn’t it be a shame if the first charity lost a donation over something as trivial as  flowers versus flies?

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4 comments on “Let’s get really personal

  1. Drew, you are right on the money. The issue is that a lot of businesses don’t see the world in the context of their competitors, from their customers perspective. Detail like this is not sexy, it is not “a big idea” that gets noticed at the management meeting.

    In the same vain, Seth Godin wrote about the need for “web tweakers”; many websites don’t need to be re-built from scratch, they need someone to go through and make sure there is a call to action, to make sure that the information is succinct, that there is logical story.

  2. David,

    I think there’s a mis-perception about marketing — that it’s all sizzle.

    Really, its about the steak. Always has been, always will be. To your point, not as sexy. But it’s what separates the pros from the dabblers.


  3. Steve Sisler says:

    I agree with both of your comments regarding marketing perspectives. In addition, as a consumer, they’re FREE and save my 2 cents for the labels I would have bought. I just love FREE things…when they are truly free. That’s the question.

    BTW, the flowered labels go on any bills I pay from the house. Heck, I don’t want someone to think I’m into flowers. Good golly!

    Thank you.


  4. Steve,

    I’m not saying I threw away the labels. 🙂

    But, sending me something that so clearly isn’t about me doesn’t make me feel special — it makes me feel like you are trying to put one over on me.

    Which of course, I don’t enjoy. But you are right — free is good. There’s the fallacy. They think that’s enough.


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