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How to offend your customers and alienate people

How to offend your customers and alienate people

How to offend your customers and alienate people. Consider your own personal likes and tastes, not your company’s, your own. Food, wine, cloth, style, venues etc, are each unique to you, and likewise every one of us. Now imagine how you’d feel if you’re ready to really enjoy a juicy, succulent fillet steak and always order it medium-rare.

But instead of bringing you that, the waiter serves you a well-done Rump! We imagine that you’d consider whether objecting will disrupt an otherwise convivial evening or decide to send it back. Scratching your head, and making excuses to yourself “how this could have happened to you. After all, this is your favourite restaurant, they know you here. Guiseppe, the owner, watched you grow up, then when you brought the whole family here for their birthdays, weddings anniversaries.

So you create excuses for him, “there must be a new-boy in the kitchen”, “it couldn’t be my friends”. But then Guiseppe himself comes over and pours your wine, but instead of your “usual” full-bodied Claret, he pours you an insignificant Zinfandel. Hang on a minute, this isn’t right, you recoil. Outraged of Sidcup might just be beginning to twig.

The comparison is obvious, product selection for email marketing, unless done on an individual and personal basis, offends! In monetary terms, if this amounted to an additional 10% of your online turnover every year you’d soon kick-up a fuss, and yet these are exactly the numbers involved, but because you don’t realise, the damage goes unnoticed, unpunished, and more importantly not corrected. Personalisation is key, not bland trivialities like geo-socio-economics or correct name, but understanding what each individual is most likely to buy next.

Continuing the wine analogy, put yourself on the receiving end of an email marketing campaign for a leading vintner. We’ll leave you to draw parallels with your own business. If a consumer’s basket, every shop, is piled-high with claret and champagne, why would you consider it anything other than irritating for them to get details of Beaujolais Nouveau just because it’s the right season?

Yes, it suits you as the retailer, and perhaps it might strike you as more interesting than regurgitating last months, bin ends. But it is like a child interrupting an adult in the middle of a conversation, to ask something left-field; if it weren’t your own child, your patience would wear thin very quickly.

Despite this, your loyal customer who orders her usual tipple, is rewarded for this loyalty, by being repaid by receiving details of cheap Austrian whites on offer this month because you need to shift it – what the heck?

Give your customers what they want

There is a contrary argument, that it would be far too expensive to make every email unique to the individual for whom it is intended. Or that you have sophisticated segmentation tools which attempt to eliminate by far the vast majority of these omissions and mis-targeting adventures as much as possible.

Sadly it doesn’t come close to predictive personalisation software (PPS), which uses machine learning, artificial intelligence to identify exactly what each individual consumer is most likely to buy next. According to leading research institute McKinsey, it delivers 20x the ROI.

Then finally that we’re not doing too badly despite all this, and so can afford to carry on regardless. But all the time, in the words of Poltergeist, “they’re here”. They being alternate suppliers.

Staying with your own tastes and interests, how loyal would you be if a new retailer emailed you exactly the things you were interested in? All the stats are explicit on this that within three opportunities to purchase, you will make that decision to buy if your receptors are not sustained and indeed fulfilled by your existing suppliers. Once that decision is taken, the new supplier, providing they have their wits about them, will continue serving that consumer and replace you as their preferred source perpetually.

So turning our attention to email content, and specifically to product selection; SwiftERM works in addition to email marketing software, using predictive analytics from each individual consumer’s impressions and buying history to identify their own unique and personal taste.

The Bordeaux drinker to their favourite claret, the fashionista to their preferred brands, style, colour and cloth. The pet owner to the brands their pooch drool over. The foody to their preferred and inordinately varied and idiosyncratic choices, after all, there is no point sending luxury brand details to own label shoppers. Stop offending your consumers, give them what they want.

Maria Antoinette is famously quoted, when observing the starving Parisian peasants, “let them eat cake”. If she’d got her product selection right, she might have stayed around a little longer to appreciate the distinction.

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3 Responses

  1. I love this, quite literally losing your head but for offering the right product lol :). So “on the money”.

  2. Food for thought indeed. I employ a considerable number of people working permanently on promotional email marketing; it’s good to be reminded the focus should always be on the products most likely to be purchased.

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