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Newsletter #818: The “Make it Personal” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Any time you make something more familiar, more contextual, or more personal for your fans and customers, the better off you are. How a few smart marketers are doing it:

1> With promotions
2> With catalogs
3> With shopping history
4> Check it out: A Polaroid a day

1> With promotions

Instead of blasting all of your customers with the latest promotion, try letting them opt in to get alerts on the products they actually care about. Sears is doing it with their “Ad Your Way” program. It lets shoppers “follow” items they’re interested in on the Sears website and even enter a target price for it. Then, when deals or special offers involve those products, these customers get notified. The program saves Sears from annoying customers with unrelated promotions and also allows them to learn a ton about their customer base and their pricing strategy.

The lesson: Just because it’s a discount doesn’t mean you have permission to interrupt them with it.

Learn more: Sears

2> With catalogs

Nobody needs another catalog on their doorstep. But if you’re insistent on creating one, make it worth saving, sharing, and talking about. A great example is adventure gear-maker Nau, who created “Portraits of our Friends” — a collection of 10 profiles of customers who represent the spirit of their brand. The result is a mix between a product catalog and a documentary. It’s more than a sales piece, it’s a personalized look into the people Nau is designing their products for.

The lesson: Make your sales materials more personal by working in the stories and the real people — both the staff and the customers — behind your brand.

Learn more: Cool Hunting

3> With shopping history

In the age of mass data collection, too few marketers are using it to actually help their customers in unique, personalized ways. But Sam’s Club is working to change that with their new “eValues” program which looks at past purchases to create special offers; it even creates pre-made shopping lists. As one customer describes it, Sam’s Club often knows what he wants to buy before he does. Customers love the deals (the membership level that offers eValues has grown 46% since its introduction) and Sam’s Club can pass on even better prices because they have much better data on what to bulk order and when.

The lesson: How well do you know your customers? Even if you don’t have fancy data, you can create personalized incentives to reward your most valuable customers.

4> Check it out: A Polaroid a day

Jamie Livingston took a photo every day for 18 years — up until the day he died on his 41st birthday in 1997. With the help of his friends, this amazing collection of Polaroid photos now lives on for the world to see online.

Check it out: Photo of the Day

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  1. Rishi February 3, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    “Portraits of our Friends” is super clever. ‘Our Friends’ sounds so warm.

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