the good, the bad and the missed opportunity

There’s a common myth that customers (and potential customers) are annoyed by direct marketing.

We’d argue that this isn’t true. If it’s irrelevant, poorly timed, comes by the bucket-load and isn’t personalised it will be true. But done well, it can work wonders.

One of the building blocks in our loyalty formula is customer closeness. A key part of that is making your customers feel you know and value them. Brands get opportunities to demonstrate this in many ways. Let’s look at a few that relate to direct marketing and rewards.

Here’s an example of a bad approach.  A colleague who treasures his annual holiday to remote parts of the world gets really frustrated with a well-known, travel booking website. Picture him having had a great holiday but now back to work, at his desk, far from the great outdoors.

On numerous occasions, the travel website has sent him offers on flights to return to where he’s just got back from. The offers are on flights in the next few weeks. He can’t go straight back, and he’d probably go somewhere else next time.

If the brand understood the motivation for the flight, and was closer to their customer, they wouldn’t make the mistake of sending emails that irritate.  The emails haven’t put him off ever booking with them again, but if everything else was equal, he’d be more likely to use another site that didn’t get its ‘personalised’ communication wrong. He’s certainly been critical of the brand to others. The net outcome of that piece of communication on loyalty was negative.

Now for the positive, and a missed opportunity.  This time a comparison of two clothing brands. I love Cos – I love the quality of its products, and their simple yet bold and stylish clothing. The brand resonates with me. But they don’t know me and they haven’t attempted to engage with me through direct marketing. The season has changed, and other clothing companies who I like, but don’t love, have been in touch. And I’ve ended up buying from them, not Cos.  A missed opportunity.

Another colleague, loves White Stuff. Again, she loves the quality of the product, and the styles and the brand resonate with her. She is definitely a loyal customer. As well as the product, and the fact that there is a White Stuff shop around the corner, she feels closer to the brand as they reward her for being a customer. Periodically they will send her direct personalised marketing – by email and through the letter box. They incentivise her to buy from them with discounts and other promotions. She’s happy to receive them and it makes her feel closer to the brand. Most importantly for White Stuff, she then also goes and buys something from them.

Just a handful examples of some successful and failed attempts to get closer to customers. We’d love to talk to you and help you understand how your brand can get closer to its customers and build loyalty.


Jake Blampied