Another Good Disaster Story

By | November 20, 2012

I write about so frequently about how and why things work well that every once in awhile, I like to write about a complete disaster. Enter the text I just received from my husband, who is the director of facilities at a large private high school in Maryland. His text needs no embellishment, so my snarky insert aside, I present it to you unaltered . . .

Just fielded a call from a telecommunications company and the rep kept stating that they had “seen in the records” that we were opening [and thereby — clearly — needed their superior telecommunications services]. I repeatedly told her that we had been in operation for 49 years, so she might want to check her sources of said records. She kept pressing, too, like that was going to change something. It guarantees we’ll not engage them in business.

More support for points I’ve made repeatedly here.

1. If you’re helping customers buy lists, it’s worth spending the money on good data. Bargain lists, bargain results.

2. Response rates tell the first part of the story. Conversion rates tell a lot more.

To the latter point, let’s say this telecom company had sent a direct mail piece. Let’s say it was a fabulous piece of creativity and marketing and was so compelling that my husband responded by picking up the phone and calling. But once he hit this sales rep — wham! — there would have been the same derailing of the sales conversion process as occurred this morning. Chances are, he wouldn’t have been the only one with the same experience.

In such a case, a high response rate wouldn’t have told the full story . . . why this campaign didn’t benefit the bottom line.

If you’re the print provider, this matters, especially the direct mail campaign was something you worked long and hard to sell. Poor results aren’t necessarily the fault of the print piece, the marketing approached used to underpin it (1:1 personalization, personalized URLs, cross-media marketing), or the execution.

That’s why I love disaster stories. We can all read and write about the successes, but it’s the disasters that often really drive the points home.

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One thought on “Another Good Disaster Story

  1. gary porter

    Interesting. We sometimes get calls “since you’ve contributed in the
    past .. . ” when in fact we’ve never contributed. I hate it.

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