Useless Personalization: Would You Have Stepped In?
By Heidi Tolliver-Walker on February 18th, 2014
I saw something odd in my mailbox this morning. It was from a local auto dealership. It was personalized based on my use of their service center . . . once. I opened it, and two lines caught my eye.
The first line was in the opening of the letter. “Heidi, I noticed you haven’t visited [dealership] for service in over a year . . .”
The second was the headline for the call-out box next to it. It was in red, bold, and large font: “SPECIAL PRICING PROGRAM.” The pricing wasn’t on service. It was on purchasing a new vehicle.
I put down the letter and thought about what I’d just seen. The dealership is calling my attention to the fact that I haven’t been to the service center in more than a year — and they want to sell me a new car.
That’s an odd combination. Either I haven’t been there in a year because I’m dissatisfied, I’m taking my car somewhere else, or my 2005 Chevrolet Equinox is in amazing shape and hasn’t needed even a tune-up.
If the latter, then why do I need a new car? Now, I can understand if I weren’t a lapsed customer but a frequent customer. You know: “Heidi, we’ve noticed you’ve been into our shop 5 times in the past 7 months. How about a new ride? We’ve got great financing on NEW VEHICLES for valued customers like you!” But it didn’t.
I could spend a lot of time busting on this particular letter, but what I really want to know is this. If you had been producing this job, what role would you have played? Would you have asked to look at the copy before it went into production? Asked about targeting based on service history? Looked at the promotional offer in the call-out box to see if it matched (in any way, shape, or form) the content of the letter?