You talking to me? You talking to ME!?!

A number of years ago I was visiting a Sears Hardware store in Houston. As we walked through the single entrance door from the parking lot we encountered a big, handwritten sign that said something like:

“All D/9 on sale today. Take 10% off throughout the store.”

Now because you are a sophisticated strategy and marketing person, I’m sure you immediately knew that “D/9” is an abbreviation for “Division 9”, and that Division 9 is the internal Sears nomenclature for its tool department. My guess is that the actual folks with money to spend in our store were not only confused, they probably thought we were a bunch of idiots. Guilty.

This morning I woke up to my daily deal e-mail from Living Social. This one featured a “concealed handgun license course” offer. Now, I do live in Texas, so they get a few points for being “market sensitive.” They probably don’t sent this particular deal to the Godless, Constitution-destroying Socialists up north.

But if they knew anything about ME, they would know my interest in this deal is somewhere just south of zero. And while I’m on it, they can stop sending me deals for a Brazilian Blowout, kids’ clothing (my children are 17 and 14) and the Micro-dermabrasion¬†treatment at a salon that is 20 miles away.

Just because email (or a handwritten sign) is cheap, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care how personalized and relevant your communication is.

When you repeatedly show me that you don’t know me, I start to tune out. And eventually I don’t make that trip to your store, I don’t tell my friends and colleagues about how great you are and the “unsubscribe” button becomes my best friend.

You talking to me? You had better be.


6 thoughts on “You talking to me? You talking to ME!?!

      1. Groupon filed its registration for an IPO, expected to raise up to $750 million, on June 2. I have taken advantage of only one of their offers in the last year. Most people I know tell me the same thing about them. So how do you explain their valuation of their offers don’t appeal to most people.

      2. This blog was not a comment on Groupon’s valuation (which, until the IPO, is not firmly established anyway. And a “successful” IPO is certainly no guarantee of a long-term high valuation. My worthless stock from 2001 is testament to that).

        Groupon’s dramatic growth is impressive, and there is no doubt that, so far, they have attracted lots of consumers and retail partners. They have also spent more than 50% of their revenues on marketing to accomplish this and are losing tons of money. If you believe this valuation is fundamentally sound you should also believe that it would be even higher if they were doing a better job being relevant, personalized and remarkable.

        The final story on Groupon, Living Social and the others pursuing variations of the daily deal model is far from being told. To be clear, I am NOT predicting that their bubble is about to burst. I am saying that they have a long way to go in evolving their consumer value proposition and improving the underlying economics of their business. Should be fun to watch. For now, I’m not investing.

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