6th July 2011
For professional reasons, I collect examples of businesses who are executing really good direct marketing programmes that are engaging, relevant and personal.
Last week I received a letter from a small direct business selling men's clothing online and off the page. I have no idea how big this business is, but it convinced me I was its only customer. It felt that personal.
So what was it doing right?
Firstly, it knew my name and addressed the communications to me personally. I know this is an obvious thing to do, but you would be surprised how many businesses don't even do this!
Secondly, it clearly knew my transaction history and was able to use this knowledge within the copy to make me feel a valued customer. The letter even thanked me for being a customer and described me as 'one of their best customers'. Now you don't often see that.
Thirdly, it used its knowledge of my relationship with the business to make me an offer I couldn't refuse.
And finally, the letter came direct to me from the owner of the business and not some faceless individual. The personality, enthusiasm and passion of the owner came through in the language.
In essence it fused powerful data and insight with great copy writing, to produce a compelling, responsive and engaging proposition. Brilliant.
At Cogent we know that consumers want businesses to keep in touch with them, but only with offers and communications that are relevant, personalised and timely. And for this they are willing to hand over a great deal of personal information.
Indeed we are told that 29% of consumers will buy more from those businesses which do communicate with them in precisely this way. But get it wrong and fail to use this information to bring them content that is relevant, then you will end up with a non-responsive customer at best, and at worst, the customer 'crossing the street' to your competitor.
But a recent survey has shown that 88% of customers will move their business if brands waste the customer data they have. Customers provide data about themselves on the tacit understanding that it will be used to make them relevant and personalised offers. At Cogent we are committed to eliminating data wastage.
To help us develop marketing programmes that drive customer engagement and responsiveness we have developed a straightforward scorecard that lets us test just how personal your brand might be and provides some straightforward hints and tips to help make your brand, and its direct marketing programmes, feel relevant and personal to drive responsiveness and engagement.
My shirt man was highly personal. They had got it. Anyone who is writing to customers using the data their customers have provided, can be personal too. Here are our 7 key tips to personalising your communications:
1. Across all your channels use the customer's name whenever and wherever it is appropriate.
It should never be 'dear customer'
2. Get your call centres to ask for a name before they ask for an account number, or some
other such identification
3. Tailor website and letter content to segments of individuals, not one size fits all
4. Pitch your offer to your customer in a more tailored way to meet their needs
5. Show that you know the value and history of your customer
6. Develop and use triggers based on recent interactions or known key events in the
customer's life e.g. moving home
7. Write with real passion, as you would writing to someone you know
If you are writing to your customers, you must look to eliminate data wastage and make your communications feel really relevant. Now is the time to get personal before you lose your customer for good.