It’s the list!

By  now, most marketers have realized that in the post-brand, post-tv world, permission (the privilege of marketing to the people who want to hear from you) matters more than just about anything.

Exhibit A: sent a catalog to their worst customers instead of their best ones. Big mistake. They shut down. (but perhaps will be reborn). Link: The New York Times > Technology > After Catalog Blunder, Suspends Business.


Exhibit B: This piece of junk mail from BMW arrived today. The punchline? I don’t have a BMW and I have never had one! The astonishing thing is that the cheapest, easiest, most reliable mailing lists in the world are government registries of motor vehicles, usually c/o Ward’s or some other company.

The lessons:
1. roll your own. Don’t buy, rent or sell lists. Build them with people who want to hear from you.
2. anticipated, personal and relevant messages always outperform.