Can We Make the “Ask” Simpler?
By Heidi Tolliver-Walker on September 22nd, 2012
It seems that we’re always talking about the lack of customer data for targeting and personalization. The discussion about developing and managing databases seems overwhelming to customers on the outside looking in. The words “data append” send them running for the door.
I wonder if we’ve made the discussion too complicated. What if we removed the word “data” from the discussion altogether?
For example, if you’ve been handling static mailings for a customer and think targeting by gender would improve sales, don’t ask the customer if they have a gender field in their database (you know they don’t). Don’t ask if they want you to turn their mailing list into a marketing database and run a genderizing program on it. That sounds absolutely terrifying.
What if you just asked, “Do you think it would help to send different offers to men and women?” If the answer is yes, then say, “Great! Here is what it will cost.” Don’t use the words “genderize” or “data append.” Don’t even use one of the phrases “1:1 printing,” “personalized printing,” or “variable data.” Just roll that into the price, then work with them one step at a time to implement it.
Just keep the word “data” out of it.
I know I’m over-simplifying, but you get the idea. As an industry, we’ve gotten used to data-related terminology and don’t think much of it. But to customers who are not already working with data, these are foreign, scary concepts. It’s like asking them to climb Mt. Everest.
Instead of increasing the complexity by focusing on what can be accomplished and all the steps required to do it, what if we just simplified the entire discussion instead?