Don’t get personal

by Steve Abbott on 24/02/2014

Those marketers who have been around a while will remember when personalisation and laser printing revolutionised the direct mail business. These ‘old gits’ of the marketing world may be forgiven for seeing a parallel with modern digital marketing.

The message from consumers seems to be; “I didn’t ask you to get personal so stop bugging me“.

In other words, simply putting my name on a communication or sending it to my address, email or mobile is not cutting it with consumers. In fact it seems to be like that annoying stranger who comes and sits next to you on the train and keeps talking to you.

What we have noticed is a definite trend in consumers’ receptivity to different marketing channels. Looking at the current darling of the marketing industry, mobile, as an example we see an interesting picture (source: The British Consumer Index – Jan 2014).

As mobile grew, its ‘score’ was rising (see chart – right).

However, as the volume of mobile messages increased then the ‘score’ started to fall. The ‘score’ is a combination of acceptability, past response and willingness to respond.

Perhaps the initial novelty of mobile is being overtaken by irritation. This brings back memories of personalised direct mail all those years ago.

The same thing is true of cold direct mail and cold emails whereas ‘warm’ mail and emails are retaining their scores if not growing.

It is also interesting to note that consumers’ receptiveness to more ‘broadcast’ communication channels is having resurgence in popularity.

TV, Radio, Posters and Door Drops are becoming the more favoured means of receiving information from companies that consumers don’t have a relationship with.

Interestingly this also coincides with the ‘Brand Experience’ becoming the most influential thing in consumers’ choice of brand or retailer. Experience has even overtaken the old favorite ‘Advice from Family and Friends’ according to the latest data which makes it even more important to get the communication right.

So, marketers, it may be ever so much fun to play with the latest ways to track people and send them ‘personal’ messages and ‘relevant’ offers but beware. You run the risk of your brand becoming the creepy guy that you get off the train at the next stop to avoid.

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– who has written 1 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

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