Thursday, January 10, 2013

GEICO: How Can They Be SO Good?

Common wisdom has it that personalization is everything in direct mail. GEICO -- which consistently produces some of the best TV commercials in history -- has once again turned the direct mail pundits on their ears.

Yesterday, GEICO hit me with a tiny 5x5.5-inch self-mailer with no personalization whatsoever. This mailer didn't even have an address. In fact, it was so self-contained that, in clearing out the mail, I kept thinking I'd thrown the rest of it away.

How'd they do that?

I'm betting this mailer went out through USPS' "every door direct mail" program. Sometimes derided and often feared by direct mailers, this "every door" effort proved that, in the right hands, simple can still work.

When opened to its full 5.5x9-inch glory, this 2-color (blue and black), lightweight (50# offset?) flyer popped up a wee (2x3.5-inch)  perforated "quote card," blown into the flap. On one side, the terse copy suggested that I could save up to $500 in 15 minutes by switching to GEICO; on the other, I found website and phone info.

The pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance for direct mail lovers? The bottom of the doodad made my response easy by featuring a QR code that, upon scan, promised me a no-obligation rate quote.

I'm already a GEICO customer, so clearly this piece didn't target me. So what? I loved the simplicity and ingenuity of this "quick quote card," which seemed very GEICO-esque in its light, airy, simple, and, somehow, quirky demeanor.

In short, the skill the marketers demonstrated proved GEICO not only does great TV, they know their direct mail.

--scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Customer Service "Chatter" SHOULD Be Doing For Your Organization

A report from Salesforce projects that a new level of business intelligence will come from online support communities operating in the cloud. So-called "chatter communities" are touted as both a multiplier for current support efforts, as well as a prospective revenue generator for sales and marketing.

Online discussion communities are nothing new, of course. These meeting places for customers with problems have traditionally been set up by vendors or by customers themselves looking to one another for help. In today's data-laden world, however, vendors should be using online discussions in a variety of other organization functions. For example, "chatter communities" supply market research, identify engaged customers, and open the door to volunteer testing and problem-solving.

Feared by some organizations as a place where grumpy customers will sign on to gripe, online discussion boards actually help control bad sentiments by furnishing a place to let off -- and respond to -- steam. Importantly, open discussions also allow companies to integrate customer commentary with other communication and support mechanisms.

In summary, Salesforce suggests that chatter communities should help solve multiple organizational objectives, to wit:

• eliminate "ghost town" problems where customers get no feedback;
• set-up solution channels for especially difficult or peculiar problems;
• integrate the various silos which provide customer support;
• capture customer knowledge;
• replace "noise" with real answers;
• establish a beginning point for newbies to check-in;
• help control negativity;
• demonstrate organizational credibility;
• measure the productivity, success, and ROI of support communities; and
• apply customer support activities to the larger data mining initiative.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo