I was a bit surprised when today I read a bulletin email that began, “With the holiday season quickly approaching…”as today, to my knowledge, is the 2 October and to me quickly means tomorrow, next week or perhaps, the week after.
Instead of reading their article, which was encouraging me to buy a social media tool, I mused; “Summer is over, so they must mean Christmas. But Christmas is 12 weeks away…hardly quickly approaching. Ah, it’s a US firm. They must mean Thanksgiving. When’s that? Or perhaps they mean the Autumn half term break. But if it’s a US firm, would that hold relevance to them?”

I was so busy pondering whose holiday season is quickly approaching and when, I skipped the rest of the article to see if it gave more clues. Nope. None.

Why has this grabbed my attention? Because as a piece of marketing it is shoddy. It has made a few simple mistakes:

1. Assumption
Whoever wrote it, has assumed:

  • we are all thinking like them ie about the “holiday season”
  • we all think that “quickly” means the same thing
  • therefore, we all know which holiday season they are talking about
  • therefore, there is no need to provide clarity about the time scale they are referring to

Never, ever assume that your audience are in the same mindset as you.

I work primarily with the B2B (Business 2 Business) sector. All our talk at the moment is about Q1, 2 and 3 results, if we’ll hit Q4 targets and how to plan for 2014. The “holiday season” hasn’t entered our lexicon.

2. Choose your language for your audience
Once you decide who your communication is aimed at and what you want them to do as a result of it, write it accordingly. Use the language that all of your audience will relate to and understand. Or provide an explanation somewhere. Then send it out to people who will be interested in it.

3. Mine your data correctly
This piece of comms is from a company who know all about my business (I had to tell them upon registration). Somewhere, they have a database they can pull data from, to decide who to email with what. I wish they were using it. I’d suggest that they hit the “send all” button on this one, as it is as relevant for KMS Marketing as my cousin’s facebook photo of his cat eating catnip.

The result?
The result of this has made me think that next time I have 15 minutes to see what’s happening and new in the business world, I won’t open their emails. They aren’t relevant to me. However, they have provided a 15 minute marketing lesson that’s worth learning.

Kara Stanford, MD at KMS Marketing

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