October 13, 2000
How Not to Make a Sale
I apparently let my stupid kick in a while back---I told my Alumni Association what my main e-mail address is. I thought it might save a few trees or something, and perhaps help me keep in touch with Carolina friends. This week, I've come to see the error in that.
I don't mind that the Association used that means to let me know about upcoming Homecoming festivities. That's cool; you never know if I might want to attend some of the side events. But I do not need nor want to hear details of ALL the upcoming football games.
My mistake was trusting these people to have better marketing sense than they've exhibited in the past.
An example: a few years ago, while snail mail was the weapon of choice, I got terribly annoyed that my nickname (Becky), my date of birth, and my student identififcation number had been shared with an insurance company that was permitted to market its life insurance to all Carolina graduates. The company sent a letter that started off, "Dear Becky, Since you are now age xx, you need to buy life insurance."
Well, that got the Association's Director a letter from me, commenting on the practice and saying in effect that I expected better of them than this. I did get removed from the insurance company list, at least.
Let me give you a real clue here: if you want to sell me something, do not start off using my nickname or any other personal information, unless you know me quite well. I don't care if I've been craving just exactly what you have for sale, that will make you lose the deal. On the spot. Got it?
And the same goes for people pushing a political agenda/candidate. Don't call, don't send e-mail, and don't send snail mail using personal information. It will not help your cause. If I didn't like your agenda/candidate before your message arrived, that familiarity tactic won't change my mind! See, I know how to do mail merges, and it doesn't impress me in the least that you do, too!
Here's your chance to comment about marketing tactics.