Cornering the Market: Hyper-personalized services should form the core of customer relationships

To me, there is nothing more frustrating than opening up the mailbox and receiving multiple duplicate postcard mailers from a single company. Or when they come addressed to me as “Katherine.” Or when one is addressed to another member of my household and the second to me. Even worse, when one is addressed to me and another to a generic “household” at my address. Our household does not require more than one.

All I can think about is the wasted paper and postage. And if the company sending the mailer knew more about me, the enterprise targeting me for business would know that I do not respond well to snail mail – I don’t like it. Mailed promotional materials go straight into the recycling bin without even entering my house.

When I receive duplicate mailings from a company that I do not do business with currently, I see it as a sign that my customer experience would lack attention to detail, personalization and efficiency. This is a turnoff and I typically put that company on my mental list of those I do not want to do business with – period.

If a company that I am doing business with sends multiple duplicative mailers to my home, this is even worse. In this digital world, many businesses ask customer profile questions including preferred contact method. I often opt in for electronic communications and e-bills. Sending a mailer shows that the company is either not listening to me or the company is not communicating well within its internal teams.

I took the time to complete the profile, yet the business can’t be bothered with using my input. Did anyone read it? Again, this shows lack of personalized customer experience, inefficiency and lack of cohesiveness in operations. I feel even more devalued than the business that does not have a relationship with me.

Sometimes the duplicate mailings are sent to my name using slight variations of my address, such as “Street” versus “St.” If the business cleaned up its mailing list and recognized that this is the same location, it would save on operational costs and make the company look smarter.

My second frustration is receiving a mailer from a company that I currently do business with asking me to purchase products or services that I already have purchased from them. For example, a bank sends a mailer to open a HELOC account or a credit card account when I already have that product from that bank. Is the bank carpet bombing mailings to everyone? How wasteful. Is it that the bank does not care enough about me as a customer to take the time to realize which products I already have with them?

The misdirected marketing causes me to begin to think that I should place my business with a bank that cares about my business enough to know which accounts I have with them. Really, our relationship would be better if the bank stopped trying to engage me than continue to do so with communications that miss the mark.

My third pet peeve is when the offers are untimely. For example, if I just refinanced my mortgage with you, don’t send me a mailer 10 days later for a refinancing opportunity. Yes, I appreciate notification of interest rates becoming more favorable. But given that I just paid closing costs (or folded them into my loan), refinancing 10 days later is not likely. Instead, you run the risk that I see even better terms being offered and I feel dissatisfied with my new product or even mad. From my perspective, if you had told me to wait 10 days, I’d have better terms. You can do better on timing.

Marketing should not damage customer relations.

The Digital Data Challenge

Many businesses have a plethora of data that is typically siloed across many systems throughout the organization. Aggregating and integrating this data for marketing purposes is a major challenge that can be difficult and time-consuming, if not nearly impossible.

Hyper-personalized services that factor in intelligence about a customer holistically should form the core of customer relationships. To achieve this goal, businesses can integrate their disparate data architecture across lines of business and functions to create a 360-degree view of customers and allow for targeted marketing based upon data.

New and advanced data analytics powered by artificial intelligence (AI) are available today that enable customer intelligence to drive marketing. Aggregate your data and ensure that it is cleansed to remove duplicate customer lists for mailings. AI-powered analytics recognizes when people with different names are part of the same household to further eliminate duplicate mailings.

Harness the power of your data to personalize a customer’s experience with your company and enable smarter targeted marketing.

Katie Horvath is chief marketing office at Aunalytics.