Best Practices – Do Not Make Perfect

Many of our clients assume that if a marketing stratagem or tactic is used by a major player it ought to be good. If a small to mid-sized firm can afford to, they’d do well to mount a similar program. “If (fill in the name of a feared or admired organization) does it, why don’t we?”

Consider the following. A major bank and credit card issuer sends multiple envelopes to arrive on the same day. One is a statement and with it the usual detritus of untargeted offers such as those blank checks allowing you to get cash at very high interest. The second package is more of the same, without the statement. Why do major firms clog your physical and electronic inboxes with multiple offers and why do they present the same or similar offers to customers, who over the years have shown no interest?

The cost to print, process, and mail offer, when you have scores of millions of customers is low. The return on those unfortunate folks who, for whatever reason, use those checks is high. Whether these programs have a high or even a positive ROI is tough to tell from outside the organization. Whatever the believed ROI, it is probably exaggerated, because it ignores several costs. These include:

  • The cost in time and potential irritation and confusion to the customer of overlapping offers.
  • The opportunity cost when customers perceive your company as inept and are less likely to buy other services from you.
  • The avoidable waste of communications sent to customers, who by their history, have shown they are not interested in a product.

Of course, we should always be willing to test offers, but the offer above, was dead on arrival. Next time you get a communication from one of the big guys, don’t consider it an example of a best practice. You can do better.