I had an unexpected inspiration for writing my marketing article this weekend. It was all spurned by the simplest conversation with my seven-year old.
My son, “Mom, why does all the mail have your name or Dad’s name on it?”
“Sweetheart, it’s just bills – trust me – you don’t want your name on it.”
“I barely get any mail. I love getting mail.”
He LOVES getting mail. I just looked at him and was struck by how much he wanted to see his name on something in that pile. For the record, he does get mail. He receives cards from grandparents in Maryland, an occasional trinket from family in Europe and monthly issues of Boys Life as well as a few other magazine-type mailings. He knows the joy of his name in block-type arriving in the Lincoln decorative plastic post mount mailbox at the end of our driveway.
I began to look through the pile. It dawned on me – if he had not said anything, I wouldn’t be taking my time perusing the mail. I would have gone into scan mode – divide and conquer. Shred pile, keep pile, recycle pile. In a matter of minutes, the pile would have been processed and only the items I wanted to see would have made the cut.
As I looked through the pile, I wondered, if they came addressed to one of my children, would they be able to convince me to act? Could the kids influence me into redoing the floors for the spring with Lumber Liquidators? Would they convince me I could put a 0% intro APR to good use for 21 billing cycles with Bank of America? Probably not to those two offers. However, if the local pizza place sent a postcard to my oldest son with savings off his favorite buffalo wings, I’m sure he’d have my ear on a night I had no desire to cook. Or if the local bookstore presented my youngest son with a discount on his latest favorite chapter book series, I might jump at him asking for something that did NOT involve screen time. If Carter’s sent me a 20% off coupon, would I be buying my daughter a new outfit?
Our children, whether we like to admit it or not, do have a tremendous influence on our decision process. As parents we tend to defer to their palettes when choosing a restaurant. They influence how we spend our money at the grocery store for dinners at home and lunches at school. They pester us into renting their movie choice, and their entertainment on vacation is considered along with our own. With this knowledge, we as marketers have a real opportunity to make that mail work for us – by targeting those who really want to receive it.
So, think back to when you received your first piece of mail. The joy of seeing your name in block lettering. Now get to work on your list, targeting those little people who are eagerly awaiting to see their name on your marketing piece arriving in their mailbox. And let their pestering evolve your call to action!
Thanks for reading!
HKM Direct Market Communications