With the New Year in full gear, I still can’t shake the memory of that hand-written envelope that came in December with a return name and address we didn’t recognize. A lost-at-birth sister? A mysterious new pen pal? A rich and dying benefactor?
Upon opening it, we were slightly pained to see a generic Christmas card signed by the saleslady we’d bought our carpet from. Cleverly, in her mind, she’d left the company name off the envelope. As a marketer, I wanted to give her kudos for personalized notes and creating touch points with her customers.
But maybe it was the enclosed coupon for carpet (why on earth would we want MORE carpet?) or maybe it was the scrawled note that thanked us for helping her reach her sales targets. In any case, something definitely irked us.
In the agricultural world, we depend a lot on direct mail pieces to reach customers because there are fewer people in the field, and they do very specific operations. And every time we contact someone directly like this, we have to pay attention to the details to ensure we speak to things that are relevant, beneficial and unique from other communications they may receive.
So what learnings did I walk away from the trash can with to bring to my clients’ mailings?
- Cross promote rather than try to sell more of a product purchased only occasionally (for example, a rancher who just bought a whackload of barbed wire and fencing posts probably doesn’t want to receive an offer on MORE barbed wire, but likely would appreciate a deal on gates and panels or maybe even animal shelter supplies).
- Think about what you’re sending in the mail. A letter to a grower shouldn’t reflect on how good a year that his crop chemical company had, but rather what events and factors were critical to his/her year and what is coming up for him/her.
- If you’re doing a product push, be real about it. Don’t pretend your DM is a warm fuzzy when it’s not. In any arena of marketing, especially agriculture, people can see through fakeness from a mile away.
My little experience leaves me thinking hard about things I send out. I want a communication from my clients to be received gratefully, rather than ticking someone off. I’ll make sure to cherish each opportunity I have to talk to a customer, even if it is just a Christmas card.
Melissa Gottlieb is an Account Manager at AdFarm Calgary. You can contact her directly at Melissa. Gottlieb@adfarmonline.com.