Has database marketing gone to the dogs?

March 17, 2008 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

My veterinarian is good with animals. She takes great care of my two cats, Mozart and Sting. She gives me excellent advice, like “keep the cats indoors, you’ve got raccoons, coyotes and eagles in the neighborhood.” Good stuff, but I’ve got a bone to pick with her, doggone it. (Sorry)

Every few months she sends out a postcard. It’s addressed to Mozart or Sting and lists whatever shots and examinations the vet thinks they need.

This is good old-fashioned database marketing. It is timely, it is personalized and it reminds me of my obligations as a cat owner without nudging too hard. I would guess that this simple technique generates substantial billings for the vet, keeping her and her associates busy giving shots and making examinations. I’m all for it.

This said, I wasn’t at all surprised to find a Christmas card from the vet in the mail a couple months ago. However, I was surprised when I opened the envelope and found a gold-trimmed card with a realistic, pencil illustration of a dog.

I’m a cat person. Cat people aren’t particularly fond of dogs. I expect that dog people aren’t particularly fond of cats either. I don’t hold that against them, it’s just a fact of life.

The point of my shaggy dog story is this: If you are going to go to the trouble of implementing a database marketing program, if you are going to send customized communications to your customers, make sure you get the data right.

Don’t send dog pictures to cat lovers. Don’t send Windows brochures to people to Mac users. What’s the point?

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