Monday, 10 May 2010

The data behind data-driven marketing

I had a promotional email the other week. Before you think I’m the saddest person on the planet, I have to admit that I get lots of promotional emails ever week. Most of them don’t match up with my current wish list, so they get deleted without further fanfare.

This one, however, teetered on the edge. Was I interested, wasn’t I? Well a little, but only a little. Not enough to do anything about it. So I just left it on the “too-difficult” pile and got on with the “screamingly-urgent” pile.

For reasons that are far too complicated to explain, a long hot bath on a Sunday afternoon prompted a change of heart. I was reading and thinking, plotting and scheming (the bath is surely the most underrated place to work) and I remembered the email. Brilliant – it was just what I needed! I responded that very afternoon (everyone works 24/7 don’t they?) and felt pleased with my relaxed creativity. On Monday afternoon I called the company to check the details. No, they said, the offer wasn’t as described. No, they couldn’t sanction such a thing. They would have to get someone to call me back. Somewhat aggrieved I put the phone down.

It seemed the left hand and the right hand were working independently. The return phone call assured me that all was well and not to worry. A confirmation email set my mind at rest.

Only a few days later I had another email from the same company offering me the same offer. They clearly hadn’t matched up my response with their original list.

This wasn’t a small Mom and Pop organisation, but an International business to business brand that should know better. Maybe they think it doesn’t matter? Maybe organising their data in such a way that enables prospects and customers to feel valued is too much trouble. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t reflect well on them or their brand.

Data-driven marketing isn’t complicated, but it is individual. Whilst we know that emails aren’t written for each of us individually, it is neither polite nor good for business to ignore responses. In such a digital age, communicating clearly to both front-line staff as well as prospective customers, should be a given.

Email isn't as expensive to send as direct mail used to be, but it has a cost with people's patience. If we want our offers to be read we have to make them relevant. And that means paying attention to responses.

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