Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Give the People what they Want

Not only give them what they want, but give it to them when they want it, and how they want it with an understanding of why they want it. A tall order to ask of us marketers... Yet, if we can present the appropriate offer to the right prospect at the right time, with a message that resonates and through a channel that they prefer we all know that our campaign will be a successful one. But, wow, it's not easy, is it?

Here's some data reported in today's "DM News": Americans like credit card applications to come to them

The article talks about how Americans typically get their credit cards through a pre-approved direct mail piece that is unsolicited, sent to them. "Forty-two percent of U.S. consumers received their newest credit card through a pre-approved credit card offer, according to Cardbeat, a syndicated market research report by management-consulting firm Auriemma Consulting Group."

We Americans prefer it when the credit grantor takes the effort to do their homework and present us with an offer that is tailored to our particular financial situation. We like our chosen financial institution to essentially complete the application by accessing our personal credit data. And, we're fine with this type of privacy intrusion because we see a clear benefit--we now have a new credit card, and we didn't have to do much (if anything) to get it. Plus, we didn't have to experience the potential rejection of being turned down--we ALL hate feeling like a loser.

As a direct marketer in today's information-rich age, we need to carefully balance the need to serve our customers with the need to respect their privacy. We're going to have to remember that our customers hate junk mail (typically). They hate to be bothered by annoying pop-up ads, despise SPAM and they ESPECIALLY hate people calling them during dinnertime. It's tough getting a message out.

(At this point, I know that many readers will say, ok fine, let customers come to you. Let them ask you to be their customer. Stop annoying them with unsolicited offers. Well, in the case of credit cards, consumers don't want to look for a card. They want it to come to them. And, the credit card industry is not alone. Ok, enough of THAT sidebar.)

Bottom-line, if we live by the mantra: "Give the People What they Want," we should do okay.

It's truly that simple. If we are providing a clear benefit to our customer or future customer, if we are thinking of their needs (and not just of making money for ourselves), we will be successful. We'll make the client happy and turn a profit, too.

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