So why is it that so many marketers fail to have a database marketing strategy in place?
Yesterday, I got three pieces of direct mail in my home mailbox from Farmers Insurance:
- One was addressed to my mother-in-law, and she died many years ago. Considering she never lived at our address, never had her name on our mortgage, never registered a vehicle at our address, you’d think — at a minimum — Farmers might use birthdate as one of their selection variables. If they did, I think they’d consider suppressing a woman who was nearly 100. Oh, and let’s not forget the death Masterfile that’s available.
- The second piece was addressed to my husband, but they had matched his name to the name of my old consulting business that ceased to exist in 1995.
- The final letter was addressed to my husband.
Each of the packages came from a different Farmers agent — and despite the notation of “Visit me, I’m local,” none of them were remotely close to us. According to Google maps, they ranged from 50 minutes to 1 hour away, yet another Google search indicated there was a Farmers agent within 15 minutes of my home.
There were multiple phone numbers on the creative: One for the “local” agent and a toll-free one for Farmers (I guess they were concerned that my “local” call might incur long distance charges!).
What was most interesting is that two out of three of these packages did not include a way to respond via email. I could visit a corporate website and get a quote, but considering the time invested in personalizing the letter, providing an image of the Agent, including a detailed map showing the Agent’s location, and two phone numbers, this key response channel was omitted.
Finally, what happened to de-duping? Or assigning agent’s a territory where “most likely” prospects would reside? Or using big data to help agents figure out how and where to fish for leads while maintaining a strict recency flag?
I’m continually puzzled that marketers still fail to connect all the dots given all the tools in their marketing toolbox. Perhaps Farmers field marketing needs to go back to Farmers University for that data course they slept through.