How not to direct mail….

Jul 16, 2010 | Business messaging and branding, Marketing and promotion, STANDING OUT

I received a 3 paragraph letter recently from someone I didn’t meet at a recent networking event.

This person had obtained an attendee list and sent out what is clearly a standard letter. I won’t embarrass the firm or the writer by identifying them. And here’s the key thing: Nothing in the letter will identify them either.

As you read it I would encourage you to think about how ineffective such an identikit letter is likely to be. It could be describing almost any of the top 50 firms of accountants.

“It was unfortunate that I was not able to meet with you at the [event]. I would have appreciated the chance to talk with you about your organisation and gain an insight into how we can work together in the future.

I would like to introduce our firm to you. [This top 30 firm] is a firm of chartered accountants providing a fully integrated business advisory service across several areas of expertise, designed specifically to save you time, provide you with peace of mind and achieve cost savings where possible. We pride ourselves on our ability to understand our clients’ issues, working closely with them to identify areas where we can provide solutions that add value to their business and shareholders.

In short, we are here to help you. Our clients include quoted public limited companies, owner managed and family owned businesses of all sizes, professional partnerships, regulatory bodies, public sector bodies and not-for-profit organisations. I will contact you in a couple of days to discuss your requirements and how our approach to service delivery could be of benefit to you and your organisation. Further information about our firm is available on our website [here].

Direct mail has a poor reputation – partly because so many direct mail letters are poorly written.

This one is focused solely on the firm of accountants and says nothing of any value. Nothing that distinguishes the firm in question from any other firm. Nothing that makes the firm or the sender STAND OUT from the crowd. And nothing that would make any recipient think “Oh, now that sounds different from my current accountant”. Nothing that would make anyone want to check out the firm’s website. And nothing to identify whether the sender has relevant expertise, is a partner, a specialist or is in the marketing department or whatever.

And don’t get me started on the double negative in the opening line or the lengthy sentences (one has almost 40 words in it). Sorry. But this letter fails on almost every measure.

Of course this direct mail campaign will have limited impact. It also reveals the opportunities available to smaller firms to STAND OUT from the crowd. Most of the the bigger firms are all the same – or at least they come across as all the same.

This letter, like so much of the marketing materials emanating from bigger firms, tries to be all things to all people. So it will be largely ineffective, a waste of time and of effort. Which takes us back to my previous post on this blog… Any comments?

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