And sometimes I just shake my head. My apparently never-ending stream of poorly executed direct mail continues, with the latest effort being a shockingly bad example from Marriott’s Fairfield Inn and Visa. It appears to be the result of a co-op promotion, which may account for the execution; nobody at either Marriott or Visa felt they were responsible for the results of the effort, and it shows.
For the record, the family and I are fans of Fairfield Inns and signed up for Marriott’s Rewards program as the result of numerous stays at their Hazelton, PA location. The staff is always great, the rooms clean and cookies and DVD movies are always enthusiastically offered to us when we check in at 9 or 10 pm the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving.
Now, if only those responsible for their direct response efforts could feel the same enthusiasm. Rather than rant and rave, here’s a PDF file of the quick analysis I’ve sent to Marriott’s marketing team.
After lashing out at Verizon and Vonage a little while ago, I thought I’d move on to other topics.
But Verizon can’t help but make simple mistakes in their direct mail efforts. On Friday, I received yet another first-class mailing, this time promoting Verizon’s FiOS Internet service.
Since I’ve now been a triple-play customer for two months and paid two bills for the service, this mailing is slightly redundant. Unlike the last promotion, this one has doesn’t even include a letter signed by an identifiable person. I guess they knew this was so poorly done that nobody wanted to sign it?
Of interest is the fact that the return address for the FiOS Internet service is Annapolis MD, while the TV promotion came out of Irving, TX. This confirms my suspicion that the FiOS product is multiple business units hammered together.
Summary and takeaways
Share your internal customer lists across multiple business units and suppress against those customer files when you are undertaking a promotion.
Always suppress against your transactional/payment database. Your internal marketing databases might not be updated, due to either sloth or neglect, but the department that counts the money always knows who’s paying and who’s not.
I’ve recently received several direct response efforts that are unfortunately poor examples of our science and craft. But they provide some important lessons that we should all take into account when preparing our next campaigns, whether they be acquisition, retention or winback efforts.
The two efforts I’m going to write about appear to suffer from at least one flaw that I try to address with clients and employees. I call it “fingertips.”
By that, I mean that the nuts and bolts and detail of the marketing effort or analysis need to flow from the written page or the computer monitor through your eyes, be processed by your brain and then exit via your fingertips to the email, instant message, Excel spreadsheet, etc. It’s not about forwarding the print production schedule you get from your printer or assigning the analysis of the media plan to your least-experienced employee because it’s tedious. Having “fingertips” means you know the detail because you’ve not only seen it, but processed it and then had it exit via your keyboard.
I didn’t see the “fingertips” of the marketing managers in these efforts. Al Pacino, in his famous rant at Kevin Spacey in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross would have put it more bluntly.
I’ve been working on a list analytics project recently and that’s resulted in me thinking of, among other things, universes. I’ve started to think about model performance and how the changes to the economy might be impacting marketing results.
However, I wasn’t tempted to write this post until two things happened yesterday. First, I received MediaPost’s Email Insider newsletter on the subject of customer lifecycle. Then, I needed to drive to a client yesterday and noticed that I’ve been driving a different car more frequently.