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Personalise marketing meaningfully

Automated, so-called ‘personalisation’ can be a dreadful own goal. If I get an email effectively addressed to “Dear Random Person I Don’t Know” trying to sell me something I’ve already got or will never want, well… that’s junk mail. It’s a fact of life. But if I get an email addressed to me by name, from a company I’ve dealt with before, trying to sell me something they ought to know I won’t buy …that’s really irritating, and reflects terribly on the sender.

For example, when I’ve just bought a brand new car, I hate it when I get a letter from the dealer the next month, addressed to me by name, offering me the same model. “You know I’ve just bought one!”, I scream internally.

Let’s scrap the idea of ‘personalisation’, which to so many businesses just means ‘mail-merge’. We should think more in terms of ‘customisation’ of our sales material, making sure that what we send out is personal, but always relevant.