Details Matter with Personalization

I was perusing some comments on an auto enthusiast site I frequent and found a discussion thread about how some auto dealers and manufacturers are dropping the ball on personalized communications. Whether electronic or printed message, people were complaining about the inept use of customer data and even spelling and grammatical errors.

For instance, people who had sold cars two or three years ago were still getting offers from the dealer (where they had bought another car) and from the manufacturers of the cars that no longer lived in their garages. With people commenting from all over the country, it was evident that this is a common experience.

I joined the conversation, noting that this same thing happened with some of the airlines, rental car companies, retailers and credit card firms that I do business with. Others agreed, noting that even small mistakes make one question the credibility of the firm making the offers.

That’s incredibly important. If a company pretends to know about a customer and gets even some of the personalized information wrong, it risks alienating the customer and actually losing the opportunity to do business with them. And if the company is new to targeted marketing, the poor results of such snafus can sour it on doing more targeted programs—which ultimately impacts the service providers who are behind the printing, mailing and cross-media curtain.

So that got me thinking about who is ultimately responsible for the errors, especially the clueless use of customer data. Is it the companies making the offers or the firms that are handling the printing and electronic distribution? How is this responsibility being defined in service level agreements? Is it even a line item in statements of work?

There is a discussion thread elsewhere on LinkedIn about whether or not a print provider should make corrections to a customer’s document that will make it print and look better. Good question, but it’s kind of one from the last century.

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  • purlem

    It seems like there would be quite of bit of man-time required to flush out any potential errors for personalized campaigns? Do you agree?

    Might there be parts of the process that could be automated, or at least assist with error detection?