Jan 5, 2009

Marketing Without Imagination

This posting could have also be entitled "Marketers Without Common Sense" but I just decided to go with the shorter title.

Really, I am not sure if this is about imagination. It seems to me that at this point is a matter of common sense. I guess that it is true that "Common sense is one of the least common senses" (in Spanish sounds much better, sorry!), meaning that contrary to what we may believe, common sense it is not so easy to find.

The "mailing labels overdrive" is a perfect example. The picture at the left is a small part of all the labels we've received at home during the last quarter of 2008. They were sent by UNICEF, the American Heart Association, the Humane Society and State Farm Insurance, to name a few. Some were sent as a way to say "thank you" for a donation, some others to ask for a new donation and some as a "we value your business type" type of thing.

Reasons aside, in just 3 months I have received probably 400 or 500 labels with my name and address, labels that I will not be able to use even if I live a hundred years. To start with, I seldom send ANY MAIL... considering there is this thing called email that is fast and easy to use I would estimate that 99% of my written communications are done that way.

That is not all. At a rate of maybe one snail mail every two months (if that) chances are I will move to a different address way before I can use them all and considering that each year I receive a new set of labels I will have more labels as time goes by.

To make things worst, a lot of them have "Christmas time" designs what makes them more usable during that time of the year but that will look a bit out-of-place in June. Some of the others just have designs that I would never use, like butterflies or birds.

So to make a long rant short, it is a waste of time, energy and paper for nothing. I can barely remember who sent them (there are so many that I can't keep track) and they will end up in the garbage the next time we move.

Some may think that "well, it is a not very expensive way of giving you something". I agree with that, of course, but times have changed and mail is not as popular as it used to be and I would LOVE to receive labels that say "Property of Sandra Bavasso". THAT I can use and I can use them forever. I still have CDs and books and hey, things, that can make a good use of such label.

Sadly enough, the only labels I got with that statement are big and fluorescent as they are meant to be used on luggage (those were sent by Conde Nast Traveler).

I am not sure who to blame when it comes to this marketing approach, if the ones buying them to send them or the ones offering them to businesses. The only thing I know is that sheets with labels that can't get old (like "property of...") would be a better approach.

I know..., some people DO send a lot of snail mail during the Holidays season, but c'mon how many can you send? How difficult would be to send 2 sheets of labels with addresses and two sheets of labels without address instead of four sheets that will never get used?

I can hear someone thinking "Well, it worked for us during 20 years". My answer to that is very simple: a lot of things have changed a lot during the last 20 years..., have you noticed?

Any good marketer knows that the fact that something worked last year doesn't mean that it will work this year again. So next time before sending something like that, just think: could this be improved in any way? Can we make it different in any way?

Believe me, a bit of imagination and a lot of common sense can go a long way!

1 comment:

CastoCreations said...

I like getting them because I use them on my bills. I still send bills via snail mail but that might change as I start using online bill pay more and more.

So I may get tired of them as I send fewer pieces of mail. But I do like using them on bills. Even when they don't have the correct name on them. LOL

But I always think it is a waste of money for charities and places to send out. Especially when I haven't given a donation or bought anything.

I personally like to receive pens. That is what I send out with orders and hopefully people like them. :)