One was beautifully executed and well-received. The other was laughably bad and tossed away as soon the photograph you see was snapped.
The first came from Wells Fargo, and landed on my business partner, Ed’s, desk. It contained an iPhone case with speakers and the words, “We start by listening.” Inside the package was a reasoned plea for moving some of our financial needs to Wells Fargo. Ed may, or may not do so, but we both thought the direct mailer was unique, breakthrough and practical (Ed will, in fact, use the iPhone holder which, if nothing else, will continually remind him of Wells should he see the need to change existing relationships).
The second package arrived in a FedEx package and was placed on my desk. It was from AmEx and FedEx, and contained a huge box. After determining it wasn’t ticking, I opened the box. This one was colored white and emblazoned with the words, “We’ll help you figure it out.”
The box contained a Rubik’s Cube and a note from someone at FedEx explaining how they’d help me reduce Peppercomm’s shipping costs if I signed up via my AmEx Open card. It was ludicrous, to say the least, made even more laughable by the fact that I don’t have an AmEx Open card.
Here’s why Wells Fargo’s package was brilliant and Am/FedEx’s a colossal waste of time and money:
1) Wells took the time to figure out Ed manages our finances, so the package went to his attention. Ed also manages our vendor relations, so FedEx sent the wrong package to the wrong guy.
2) Wells gave Ed a practical product that he could use. As noted earlier, I tossed the Rubik’s Cube in the garbage.
3) Finally, Wells said they wanted to listen to Peppercomm’s needs and then provide a tailored solution. Am/FedEx talked at me, and told me they’d figure out a problem I personally didn’t have.
Both campaigns may have cost an arm and a leg. But, one WILL be successful. The other will be quickly discarded, and the genius who created it sent packing (pun intended).
The moral? Listen before you engage with any audience.
End of story.