Junk Mail Hurting Direct Marketing’s Reputation

We’ve defended it in every conceivable way.

We say its junk mail only to those who are not interested in our products even though the power of analytics to select an audience based on interest prior to mailing has existed for years. Or we say that not every one will respond by mail even though they will learn about the offer through a mailing and then go to the retailer to buy. So the recipient considers it junk, but it still sells.

Just today I received a nicely done direct mail package from an energy company here in Texas. The teaser on the front says:
“Tired of Paying High Prices for electricity?”
And the back of the carrier envelope says:
“So Many Reasons To Switch
•    New Simple Low Price
•    Guaranteed Price Protection
•    $75 Welcome Bonus"

The inside of the letter contained this first line of copy:
“Dear Ted,
There’s never been a better time to switch to XYZ Energy.”

The offer was well thought through and the copy overflowing with benefits. But there was one overriding problem. I am already a customer of this company and have been for the last 6 years at the same residential address. Now this is junk mail.

Customers demand more from companies they buy from. If nothing else, they expect them to at least know who their customers are. Do you think this type of incompetence hurts the brand? Do long-term customers feel cheated when they don’t get the same breaks as new customers? What’s your reaction?

Posted on September 10, 2007 and filed under Direct Marketing Strategy.