10/25/2019

Fiddler on the Roof: Don’t Fall – Dedup Your List


Selling tickets for an off-Broadway show is challenging. That’s why someone in charge of marketing and advertising a show often uses a mix of communication channels — television advertising, spot radio, ticket outlets like TKTS and TodayTix, and handing out flyers around TimesSquare.
Plus, direct mail. Why the multi-channel mix? One word: Tradition!
Self-Mailer front
Which brings me to this Fail for Targeting. A neighbor received two identical self-mailers for the new off-Broadway Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof on the same day. One self-mailer included her full name, including middle name, while the other included only her first and last name. However, both self-mailers have the same last name, apartment number, street address, and complete zip+4.
Inside panels
In the past, when the recipient had purchased Broadway tickets, she typically used her full name. Sometimes, however, she used only her first and last name. That’s probably why she received these two mailers—the marketing people for Fiddler on the Roof had rented different lists of people who are likely to purchase show tickets, merged them, and targeted them for a bulk mailing. The mistake here is in list hygiene — specifically, making sure your mailing list is clean but not duplicative.
Address side
Perhaps the mailing list manager had made a decision to allow for multiple people in the same home to receive the same mailer. Typically, that’s a cost-inefficient approach; however, the manager may have assumed that, if one person in the home turns out to be uninterested in the show, the other person might be. Even if that were the case, though, the first and last names on these mailers were identical. That indicates that both names are of the same person.
2 self-mailers to the same name & address
Executing a successful direct mail campaign as part of an omnichannel marketing mix involves understanding the dynamics of the channel. It is a balance of Targeting, Offer, Creative, and Timing. Having the right balance isn’t easy — but, then again, neither is being a Fiddler on the Roof.


Lesson: Practice proper list hygiene by removing duplicate names from your mailing and limiting your targeting to one mailer per address.

10/15/2019

Vanguard: Beefing Up Security, Beefing Up Customer Emails

Earlier this year, I wrote about an email from Vanguard to customers that included a few Creative Fails. It described some type of transition. This email is an improvement. It applies some best practices to motivate the reader to take action to motivate the reader to take action to set up 2FA, also known as two-factor authentication.


2-factor authentication
Vanguard Security Update email

The email opens in an emphatic tone. It speaks like a communication from Vanguard; that is, the tone fits their their brand identity of taking a stand for investors and treating them fairly.

The second paragraph contains the call to action. It cites a shared responsibility. It explains what is being requested and why.

The third paragraph includes a time-specific call to action. The response window is four weeks -- a bit long in internet time, but fair considering the actions involved.


The fourth paragraph explains (in plain English) what the reader needs to do. Although the call to action is to do something after logging into the Vanguard web site, there is no hyperlink to the login. We may reflexively consider this an error, but it is actually an email security best practice that guards against phishing attacks. 

Finally, there is a polite close reinforcing the cooperative nature of the call to action. 

There are a couple potential minor improvement opportunities. I would consider adding a valediction, along the lines of "Sincerely, Vanguard Customer Service" or perhaps a couple FAQs. But these are based on my intuition and outside understanding of the target market. In the best possible world, if timing allows, an A/B test could be executed to see which edits would result in improved response.

Lessons:
  1. When communicating with customers, your communications style should be aligned with your brand.
  2. Requests to your customers should be date specific.
  3. A/B test every communication as feasible.