Greetings, discerning readers.
Here’s an object lesson in database management and marketing, wrapped in warm holiday cheer!
A friend who runs a large industry association received a call from a member, irate over the latest email newsletter. Like many businesses, the association personalizes its messages to make them more warm and friendly. So instead of “Dear Valued Member” or similar, it reads, “Dear Roy” or “Dear Shelley.”
But the association’s latest missive also included a personalized solicitation for holiday gift baskets for low-income families.
“Dear [member first name],” the newsletter letter read in part. “Do you think you could get [company name here] to donate a basket this holiday season?”
So why was the member irate?
He assumed that the solicitation, sent to the entire membership, singled out HIS company to be targeted for a donation. In other words, What nerve to ask the entire membership to pressure his company into charitable giving!
While my friend’s experience is flat-out funny, it’s also a good reminder that your audience may not be as sophisticated as you might think. What’s commonplace to those of us in the trenches may not be quite so obvious to the audience.
At MarketingProfs, this happens with the marketing-speak we toss about freely, forgetting that our audience might still be getting up to speed.
When I ran an article here a few weeks ago that didn’t include a definition of RSS, I got a note chastising me for not spelling out “Rich Site Summary” or “Really Simple Syndication.” My colleague Val Frazee recently received an email from a subscriber wondering what our new “SEO” Benchmark Survey was all about.
Which is all to say: You have to know your audience (or your membership, or your customers, or your clients) to communicate with them effectively.
(Or, in today's America, you can’t speak slowly or simply enough—if you don't want to run the risk of "misunderestimating" your audience.)
Until next week,
Chief Content Officer