Two months ago I was invited by a large technology company to complete a short survey for the chance to win a high-capacity and somewhat expensive flash drive. So I answered the survey, realizing that I would probably be hearing from this company incessantly now that I’d confirmed who I was, where I worked, and what my email address was.
But nothing happened. And I forgot about them. Until yesterday.
You see, I received in the mail — my flash drive! But it was the way it came that made the impression.
It was in a plain white padded envelope, with a plain white label obviously printed right out of a database. My job title was “SR. VP/VP/DIRECTOR” — obviously a dump from the category I had self-selected during the survey.
Inside was a crumpled form letter, addressed to “Dear Small Business Professional” and telling me I was a lucky winner of the “enclosed free gift.” (No reference to the pricey premium I had just won, which was bouncing around in an envelope far too big.)
The copy in the letter was to the point and persuasive, but then at the end I was invited to visit a website to learn more — a website that included “https://” and a “.com/” and another word and a dash and another slash and an “index” and an “.html” — nearly 50 characters in all, that they wanted me to type into my browser. (They also allowed me to learn more by phone — by calling a generic toll-free number.)
And the cherry on the top? The signature, from a vice president at this rather large company, was scanned and printed as a 72 dpi jpg.
All in all? A massive marketing fail — they had the opportunity to reel me in, with the personal information I had just provided, to court me and turn me into a customer for life. Instead, they treated me like a number, and did nothing to try to win my business.
So, if you too would like to waste money by giving something away in order to get customer info, and then fail miserably in follow-up of your expensive lead generation campaign, I’ve concluded that I’ve just landed on a 5-step process to easy marketing failure:
1. Be anonymous. I want a plain padded envelope. Don’t bother with a nicely-designed, color label with the company logo on it.
2. Don’t care what I do for a living. I don’t want to be addressed by my correct job title, or acknowledged for the work I put into advancing my career.
3. Don’t use the power of technology. I really didn’t want to be addressed by my first name, or reminded what company I work at. Mail merges are so complicated and hard to do, and I’ll certainly understand.
4. Don’t make it easy for me to learn more. I don’t want a way to contact my salesperson directly. I want a difficult-to-type 50-character URL and a one-size-fits-all toll-free number.
5. Don’t use real ink. You’re busy — you probably had 50 of these to send out. I understand if you just scan your signature as a low-resolution jpg.
And here’s a bonus step: Above all, don’t follow up. I was only after the premium, and had no expectation of ever hearing from you again.
After all, I’ll probably be using your competitor from here on out.