It so happened that this week I received a couple of letters which all violated some basic rules of marketing communications. I could not believe it. So I put them in a pile and will dissect them in the next couple of posts. Hope it helps you take a fresh look at your marketing communications.
At some point in my life I was trialling different biodegradable nappy brands. I tried Beaming Baby, Bamboo, Nature Naty, something else, as well as reusable ones, and chose Nature Naty which I used ever since. I am happy with the quality, price, distribution and how they communicate with me. Last time I bought Beaming Baby must have been 2 years ago, and I remember 2 things – first, they were mega expensive, two, they were not great quality.
Yet, recently I received this, I am not sure how to call it, letter? handwritten brochure? which tries to be cute but ends up being slightly mad.
The idea is great – the founder ‘wrote’ it in handwriting (upon closer inspection it is printed, of course) and they sent it in an envelope which I would normally receive a postcard in. So they achieved differentiation there. But it is when I opened the envelope where they lost me. The letter goes on for 5 pages. There are lots of exclamation marks, arrows, underlining and all sorts of side notes, and it all concludes with hand drawn – I am not kidding – vouchers. Looking at them as a marketer is so painful, that I am not enclosing their picture here.
To me, this looks desperate, unprofessional and weird. So where did Beaming Baby go wrong?
First, 5 pages is a lot. Especially in handwriting. Customers these days do not have time to read beyond 1 paragraph and that’s online, so unless you are telling me about something major, like a tax refund, keep it short. Second, mixing in several offers – discounts, free stuff, a gift bag of clotted cream fudge (?), while talking about several products – is plain confusing. Third, telling me that I am one of a few preferred customers (remember, last time I bought their product was in 2011) sounds like targeting went a bit too broad (was there any targeting?).
What should they have done instead? Handwriting is ok, it’s a nice touch, and it does say personal, but keep it to 2 pages maximum, cut out variable formatting and focus on 1 main product and 1 strongest offer. And unless you are an artist or a designer, please, please do not draw the vouchers/ coupons! Most importantly, make sure your targeting is spot on. If you say you are targeting only a few loyal customers, do so. Connect with the rest online, which will position you as an up to date company, save trees and printing/ delivery costs.
The end result in my case? I am sticking with Nature Naty. They do communicate with me via social media (and do it well). Their product rocks and is the best biodegradable nappy in my opinion. They do have offers but they run them nationwide so I don’t need any vouchers, I just need to come into a specific store, like Boots or Sainsbury’s. Finally, when they want my attention, they run a contest (on social media) and send winners free products. Easy, simple, straightforward = engaging.