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Thursday, August 26, 2010

What not to do...

So I got this in the mail the other day:

Looks like a nice example of the latest "VDP personalized marketing", right?  My name appears in spiffy yellow print on a fluorescent green mailer.  Content all personalized, etc.  Even a brand spanking new personalized URL (PURL) with my name to sign up for their course on "cross media marketing".  The bright green color really does make it stand out in the usual junk mail stream that comes to the office.

Only problem is they sent it to an old address.  Our company moved almost a year ago and lucky for this company the USPS caught their mistake and forwarded it to the right location.

Years ago I owned a mailing company which I founded.  We did reasonably well growing to almost 50 employees in four years and doing about $4 million in sales.  So I understand mailing and doing it right - you can't grow that fast in the mailing business without knowing what you are doing.

Mailing 101 - clean up the address list with the latest USPS database.

So, I figure I'd check through the PURL.  Amazingly its actual there.  Unfortunately, once you click through to the second page you get this:

Though it might be a bit small it shouldn't be to hard to see that the "User Information" and "Contact Information" are BLANK!

Now, I would have expected to at least see the wrong address filled in.  But instead I see nothing.
I post this today to demonstrate what the "latest, greatest" technology can do in inexperienced hands.

My guess is that this is a printer/mailer without a lot of experience doing this type of work.  They probably read up on doing this a places like What They Think and figured why not use it to promote themselves.  

The theme of the piece was be Noticed.    I guess it worked - perhaps not like they expected though...

So why am I taking the time to trash this piece?  To illustrate a simple point.  Complex document, mail, and web processing requires experienced, technically savvy folks who understand not only the ins and outs of print, IT, and mailing but also someone who knows and understands integrated QA.  Validating the inputs and outputs of a mailing/purl system appears to be beyond the experience level of this company, and, given that, in my opinion they shouldn't be advertising they can do it for others.

I wouldn't be posting these comments if I hadn't done the same things myself.  In fact, I have a law named after it.

Kueny's First Law of Mailing:  For any given mailing containing at least one wrong piece at least one wrong piece will be received, opened and reviewed by a close relative/spouse/contact of a supervisor of the person who purchased the mailing service from your company in the first place.

Imagine if this where a bank or health care statement with incorrect and/or missing personal account data. 

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