For a marketing piece to resonate with a potential client, the piece has to appeal to the client personally. Many companies dedicate significant effort to make their marketing personal.
For example, how many times have you been on Facebook and seen an advertisement targeted to people born in a particular year…and by AMAZING coincidence it just happens to be the very year in which YOU were born?
As an aside, I suspect that all of the people who are outraged at Facebook’s data collection would be even MORE outraged if Facebook didn’t collect data at all…and just started BROADcasting ads to everyone, regardless of age, sex, or interests. “Why is Facebook showing me all these Olivia Rodrigo ads? Why isn’t it showing the Lawrence Welk ads that it used to show me?”
(Incidentally, I have no idea who Olivia Rodrigo is. Although considering that Bredemarket serves identity customers, I guess I should know her.)
Of course, it’s possible to take this personalization to an extreme. Round up available online data, supplement it with assumptions based upon the data collected, and package it all into a pseudo-personal message. Here’s an example, taken from an email that I just received:
Hi John, (Go Dodgers by the way…next time I’m in LA, lunch is on me from In-N-Out)
Love to see you’ve landed a new role as Sales and Marketing Manager / Owner at Bredemarket.
While you are new to your role, I’ve done my research on Bredemarket and am no stranger to the Marketing and Advertising space. Founded in difficult times, Bredemarket shares many of the same beliefs we do about providing an amazing customer experience.
Any interest in a quick call next week at +17143108634 to learn how we can 5X your sales pipeline with personalized, automated outreach like this email?
On one level, this seems extremely personal, as if the emailer knew all about me.
But does he/she truly know me?
Let’s pick this letter apart.
- Go Dodgers: The person doesn’t know that I spent over 25 years of my life working in Orange County. It’s quite possible that I’m an Angels fan and not a Dodgers fan at all. After all, I’m the guy who tried to champion adoption of the phrase “Rita Moreno of Arte” when Arte Moreno thought that people wouldn’t know who the “Anaheim Angels” were. Or perhaps I’m a fan of a team that is even closer to where I live, such as the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Or maybe I don’t like baseball.
- In LA: Perhaps this little fact did not register, but I actually don’t live in Los Angeles. This reminds me of the time many years ago when I wrote to my college alumni magazine, letting it know that I had moved to California and was working in Rancho Cucamonga, a town 40 miles east of Los Angeles, Naturally, the alumni magazine printed that I was working IN Los Angeles. (How to NOT win contributions and influence alumni.)
- In-N-Out: You can see the wheels turning on this line. “OK, so if the guy lives in LA, he obviously must love In-N-Out!” What if I were a vegetarian? Or a Del Taco fan?
- Sales and Marketing Manager / Owner: I know exactly where the emailer got that rather clumsy title. I used that particular title in that one instance to emphasize my responsibility in drumming up business for my firm. If the emailer had actually ANALYZED the data that was collected, the emailer would have rewritten the sentence to something that would resonate more, such as “Love to see you now own the business Bredemarket.” Of course, a TRUE account-based marketing professional would have studied the business and everything it had published, and therefore would have written “Love to see that you started the business Bredemarket when you became a free agent.”
- I’ve done my research on Bredemarket: You sure have. You grabbed my job title from LinkedIn, and used LinkedIn’s classification of my business category (“Marketing and Advertising”) rather than my own (“Marketing and writing services,” right at the top of the home page of the Bredemarket website, and even on my company LinkedIn page).
- Founded in difficult times: How perceptive!
- Bredemarket shares many of the same beliefs we do about providing an amazing customer experience: The message itself can actually resonate very powerfully…as long as it is substantiated by the emailer’s actions. As we’ve seen so far, the emailer doesn’t really know anything about me or about my business.
- Any interest in a quick call next week: This was the most amusing one of all, because it indicates to me that I have some outdated information somewhere. If the emailer had checked Bredemarket’s website or any of Bredemarket’s other online properties, the emailer would have located a DIFFERENT phone number. I’m not sure where that (714) phone number was listed, but that particular phone number was disconnected when I became a free agent. Oh, sorry, I forgot that the emailer doesn’t know what I mean by “free agent”…that particular phone number was disconnected when I was laid off.
- Personalized, automated outreach: Despite its shortcomings, the emailer has a solution that might make some sense to particular companies. After all, if you are in the business of sending hundreds or thousands of email solicitations weekly, then a solution that combines available data when some level of intelligence (Dodgers, In-N-Out, etc.) might net you some additional business, perhaps even 5X additional business as claimed. But…Bredemarket isn’t sending hundreds or thousands of email solicitations weekly.
I happen be be a practitioner of account-based marketing, but honestly it’s not due to any grand design.
Even before I started Bredemarket, I was used to account-based marketing. I spent 25 years of my life selling automated fingerprint identification systems to US states. By definition, the entire size of the statewide AFIS market is less than 60 customers. Even when you extend the market to larger localities, Canadian provinces, selected North American federal customers, and other customers (at times I have had worldwide AFIS responsibilities), you’re dealing with less than 500 potential customers at a maximum. This is a much smaller market than, for example, the market for police radios, which can be sold to tens of thousands of agencies. So I’m already conditioned to market to accounts, rather than via mass emails that guess at a potential client’s favorite fast food outlet.
In the case of Bredemarket, my services are targeted, and more often than not I solicit business from very specific individual clients. For me, it’s more productive to send a personalized message to someone that I know, or whose industry I know, than it is to send a thousand emails to a mailing list.
Although I do send the random solicitation now and then to a company that isn’t involved in biometrics, secure documents, security, or even general technology.
But I don’t assume that the recipient loves the Dodgers and In-N-Out. (Unless the recipient’s home page says otherwise.)