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Variable data printing allows companies to personalize their consumer communication. It's a nice touch and certainly gets my attention more than, "Dear Customer." But, when Citibank changed my surname to "Forgel," my positive first impression went downhill fast.


First of all, some background info into my previous customer relationship with Citibank...
I applied to Citibank for a credit card when I moved to the U.S. from Canada. I was using a Canadian Citibank card almost exclusively, so Citibank Canada was making a few bucks from my family's purchases.
Even though my credit score was in the 800s, the U.S. company declined to give me a card stating that the Canadian company is totally different and they couldn't check my history or status. How short-sighted. Strike one.
Yesterday, when I received the letter addressed to Elaine Forgel, I was dumbfounded. Of course, this could have been a data entry typo, but it sure seems like a careless error. My brand experience with Citibank isn't that great, so I'm now disinclined to read any of their direct mail. Strike two.
So, if you're going to send direct mail using variable data printing, it pays to invest in accurate data as much as possible. What's your experience? Has this ever happened to you? Has your company made significant boo-boos when you personalize your marketing materials?
P.S. Thanks to Shelley Ryan for the inspiration for the title of this post.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel