Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mail Stop

Dear Jud Linville, President, Consumer Cards, American Express: stop sending me card solicitations.

Dear David P Booth, AAA Financial Services: I do not now want a AAA Visa card – or ever.

Ditto for you, Yehezkel Gurevitch, President, Values Worldpoints Platinum Plus Visa…even it it’s the “most rewarding card of all” (a phrase so ordinary I have no idea why you went to the trouble of registering it as a trademark – and ashamed of you for doing so).

And dear, dear Pat W. Johnson, Director of New Accounts, Capital One, I especially don’t want a card or two or three from you. You send me a direct-mail letter every ten days, like clockwork. I don’t want your card either.

I am a direct mail professional, Yehezkel – been doing it for more than 30 years. I know about the valuable real estate on the fronts and the backs of the envelopes. I know how to write a truly great letter, making sure than more than 50% of the words are of a single syllable. (Didn’t I once have a private lunch with John Caples at his club in New York City? Yes, I did.)

Pat, I understand the fake (and frankly annoying) plastic credit cards – but I have to cut them up anyway in case there’s some personal information I don’t want floating about.

Get a grip: I’m not going to take advantage of any of your offers. Not yours, David. Not yours, Jud. Not in my lifetime. I am not your target market. And despite the fact that I earn part of my living from creating precisely such direct mail solicitation packages, there has got to be some realization on your part that I am a non-adopter.

You’ll say the numbers are on your side. Every time you send out a package to X million names, you’ll measure just how many recipients sign up. (At least I by-damned hope so.) And you’ll keep sending these packages because there’re two American adults who will take a card from each of your companies for every one of me.

But at some point (soon, I hope), you have got to recognize that you’re annoying the daylights out of me – and then I’m going to start complaining about you to the USPS despite the fact that some of my best clients are in precisely the same place you are.

Your continual mailings are a waste of money. They’re a waste of time – mine particularly, since I shred most of your pre-addressed material. So I don’t mind spending a little more with this ranty post.

Find some other way to get my business. Try a podcast. Put a guy in a kiosk at my grocery store (although the airlines have tried this at the airport and I wonder what their sign-up rates are).

Tell you what: instead of sending me dozens of letter packages a month, why not send me a check for the value of the number of pieces you’d normally send to me? Even if your per-piece cost is a quarter-cent, you’d be putting your money to better use by giving it to me in cash…because I am certainly throwing your investment into the shredder and/or the trash can these days.

Get smarter about it – stop doing the same thing over and over again.

PS: I know and value the very hard work that direct mail professionals put into these efforts. I sure would appreciate some real creativity from you, their clients, in trying to attract me with your offers.

PPS: For the Lord’s sake, Jud, clean your lists. Next time I get a letter package addressed to “Mr Barolin,” I’m going to wrap your return envelope around a Type III chemical-resistant floor brick and send it back to you postage-due.

1 comment:

susan reeves said...

ditto to Jud.
ditto to David.
ditto to to Yehezkel.
ditto to Pat.

ditto I also create direct mail.

I have had fantasies of mailing a big bag of these offers back to the CEO'o of these organizations but I fear my name and personal information might end up in the hands of identity thieves.

I've gone through more than 5 shredders at my office. Then I come home and have to do it all over again here.

Thanks for wiriting this piece Richard.