Don't You Know Who I Am?! A Cautionary Marketing Tale

  |  December 27, 2013   |  Comments

A brand that is able to "speak" to customers during the appropriate phase of their lifecycle engagement knows and reaps the benefits of effective communication.

Those of us who have an affinity or direct loyalty for one brand or another have our reasons. There may have been content at a given time that really grabbed our attention and truly stood out among the competitive landscape. Maybe we're self-proclaimed high-end shoppers (or bargain shoppers for that matter), always looking for the next great deal that comes along. Whatever the reason, undeniably, we've chosen to keep an eye peeled to the happenings of that brand - just in case.

Don't You Know Who I Am?!

A few months ago a Hollywood starlet found herself backpedaling from uttering those very words in a fumbled display of foot-inserted-into-mouth experienced with some local authorities while on location for a movie shoot. But let's think about the impact of that phrase uttered by a loyal customer. If you've committed yourself to a chosen brand and in turn have given them explicit permission to contact you on any given level of consistency, how does it make you feel when that brand blindly communicates with you as if you're being introduced to them for the very first time (all over again)?

Let's say you're in the market for a new car. As convenience would have it, one of the creditors that you regularly do business with (and have an active credit card account on file) happens to offer reasonable automotive financing. You know this because of a marketing message received in your inbox. Long story short, you go through the motions of completing the necessary application, getting approved for the loan, you have chosen your new car, and have now driven off of the automotive dealer's lot with your new "baby." All should be well with the world, right? But instead, you continue to get the same auto loan offer in your inbox - over and over again.

Paraphrasing here for effect: "Try Satisfying Your Automotive Needs and Save." What would your reaction be? If you're me, it's (wait for it): "Don't you know who I am?!" Now, if the company who you've been a longtime customer of doesn't know that you have an active automotive loan on file with them, there's a disconnect on someone's part - and likely not yours. It's great that you appear to know someone well enough to personalize the message and address the content with a recipient name. You lose points for not being on top of your game by identifying your current customer and tying purchase behavior back to your database to make the next iteration of communication an acknowledgement of that transaction.

As marketers, we all have the best intentions for the development, advancement, and success of our marketing programs. With these intentions, however, there is some level of risk. As a result, we occasionally fall short by losing sight of (and mastering) the basics.

Here are just a few missed opportunities for not recognizing the customer:

  • Welcome and education of service or supporting products
  • Continued customer engagement
  • Service and/or product satisfaction solicitation

A brand that is able to "speak" to customers during the appropriate phase of their lifecycle engagement knows and reaps the benefits of effective communication. You effortlessly weave your way through that "new" phase when a customer is being on-boarded and educated about your unique offerings through a welcome or early-engagement series. You know that communicating with a group of "active" members has to be delivered in a different tone than that given to someone who has yet to show purchase or engagement activity. As such, when a level of activity slows down or an action is taken, you know to highlight that with an acknowledgment in the form of a "thank you" or in the form of an incentive with the hopes of driving a conversion or desired effect.

Lessons to be learned here are:

  • Recognize customer loyalty
  • Know your customers vs. prospects and message accordingly
  • Treat customers differently (based on level of activity)

So you see, sending the right message at the right time isn't so cliché after all when you think about it. If you've ever experienced a "Don't you know how I am?!" moment (on either side of the equation), let me know in the comments.

Image on home page via Shutterstock.

Editor's Note: As 2013 comes to a close, we're pleased to share our top email columns of the year. This article was originally published June 25, 2013.


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Katrina Conn

Katrina leverages more than 15 years of cross-channel email, mobile, social, display, and direct marketing experience to oversee the development and execution of StrongView's suite of cross-channel strategic, creative, and implementation services. An established industry thought leader, Conn works with StrongView's enterprise marketer clients in retail, financial, hospitality, consumer services, and media to help them develop, deploy, and measure cross-channel marketing programs and advanced marketing analytics initiatives.

Conn has been in the business of email and database marketing since 1999. Most recently, she served as a senior strategist at Responsys, where she helped brands design and optimize cross-channel marketing programs. Prior to Responsys, Conn served as Director of Client Services for Datran Media's StormPost division, where she managed client services and strategy teams serving brands such as Microsoft, NBC, and Turner Broadcasting. She has held management roles at digital marketing companies Alterian, Donnelley Marketing/Yesmail, and DoubleClick/MessageMedia.

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