Let me start by saying that I am a great believer of marketing, advertising, as well as paid, owned, earned, borrowed, hijacked and all other forms of media. I have been so all my life, and I owe my somewhat agreeable existence to it. So don’t take this as “a hater is gonna hate” indictment.
But I have reached a point where I feel a couple of issues require your attention, because, frankly, they should no longer occur, given today’s technology and a few decades of experience.
Number one: You should be able to link what I have bought or accessed in your universe with what you are offering, pandering and dangling in front of me. Yes, you, airline that offers me destination emails to places I have just booked. And you, hotel chain, offering me reminder emails to complete bookings that I have already completed on your website. And you, home improvement store, sending me emails wondering if I still want those items that have already been delivered to my home.
Number two: You should know my buying habits. I am a loyal customer, and you know that, coffee chain whose name rhymes with “sucks.” I am a member of your loyalty program and have linked my debit card to your program. You (should) know I have never, ever bought a coffee from you because I do not drink coffee (I can hear the collective gasp from my readers). I do enjoy your English breakfast tea, your breakfast items and on occasion some other food items. You know that because I buy them and pay for them with your app. Yet you keep sending me coffee offerings instead of reminders about new food items or iced tea variations.
Number three: You should at the very minimum know my name. I am glad you think of me as “Dear valued customer,” but I have bought stuff from you and I have a log in on your website or app. So use my name – it is right there in my customer profile you asked me to complete when I registered.
Number four: Be smart. If you have my birthday information, dear online music store and dear office furniture and supply store, do something more than sending me a “it is your birth month and look at all the special offers we have” email. I have a birthDATE and you know it from my profile. So send me a special message on my special day. And would it kill you to actually GIVE something instead of polluting my inbox with meaningless advertising for things you are trying to sell but I am not in the market for to buy (see point 2)?
Props to the coffee store that rhymes with ducks, because they do give me something and I can only redeem it on my birthday. See -- that is how you do that!
In short, you all should do better because you know better. Your systems are (I think) capable of addressing these issues. If they are not, it is time to invest in a little exploration of what is out there to make you better. I bet you it will pay back handsomely. I will check back with you next year to examine what progress you have made.
I totally agree with you here, Maarten. Companies should be able to recognize their faithful customers more feelingly and appropriately with today's technology. To add to this, I also wish companies would recognize their long-term customers once in a while. I've been a faithful customer of Apple's since the earliest days, way more than 30+ years, yet when I go into an Apple store, I'm just an older customer who probably doesn't know anything about technology and needn't be noticed. Grrrr.
Totally agree. If you have the technology to track and recognize customers, especially loyal ones, do something with that technology. I will say that said airline-who-shall-not-be-named is doing at least that, as well as the hotel chain. Their emails suck, but their staff know my name and my loyalty!
I have ordered from L.L.Bean for years and have never ordered ANYTHING except Men's clothing. Every catalog I get from L.L.Bean is clothing for women in the first half. I guess they think my wife might look at it but not gonna happen.
At some point, these companies will start to look more closely at the types of interactions you mention in your article as a priority.
I will be eagerly waiting for this day.
I agree. I believe the reason that this happens so often is the lack of talent in the analytics area. Not that there is a lack of talented people, but there aren't enough of them. All of the things you write about above encompass the colaboration across various departments at these large companies. Unless everyone involved has knowledge of the whole process, you end up with the experiences you describe.
Dear valued MediaPost Feature Contributor.
I fully enjoyed your column.
@John: that one made me laugh out loud!
@Susie: very much agree. Technology is not the problem, but the people that govern the technology usually are.