For the majority of companies they seem to think that CRM (Consumer Relationship Marketing and/or Management) equals email. When a generic piece of communication from a company that is put in with more valuable and relevant content in my U.S. mail box I call it junk mail but when it comes as email I am suddenly going to give it more value?
So I did an experiment to see if my perception of this problem was what is really going on in the real world. For the past month, every time a company that I did not interact with on a regular basis asked for my information, input, feedback or opinion in any medium I gave it to them to see what they would do with it. I even created a new Yahoo! email account and only gave that address in my responses so I was sure anything I received wouldn’t get lost in my personal email account or trapped in my spam filter. The results were that I engaged with 62 different brands that ran the gamut from high-end luxury to local mom and pop stores I got templated emails from 21 brands, generic printed mail from 10 brands (6 of them also sent me email), and 0 meaningful messages or interactions.
That is appalling. Somewhere along the way we decided that we would rather have the convenience of technology that can send our mass anonymous emails over a real relationship and understanding of our customers. You have a person who is raising their hand and saying they want to at a minimum interact with your brand and at best build a relationship with you. We reward this investment by telling them they just another number in a database.
To companies I say that you consider spending less time worrying about re-branding and re-positioning your re-done logo in your re-done color palette you re-launched last year and more time understanding how to build a relationship with your customers. To agencies I say we take a step back and understand that ad campaigns are just part of an overall communication plan that builds a relationship with customers.