No friend of mine

Mailbox We know the drill.  A company wants to do a little one-to-one marketing.  They determine their right audience, design their direct mail piece and buy a list.

My full name is Andrew.  But really, unless you’re my mom and I’m in trouble, no one calls me that.  So when I get a letter  addressed to Andrew, I know its no friend of mine.

Here are the options available to the mailer (not counting the option of not sending the piece.)

  • They can address each letter individually, knowing that some Kathryns, Andrews, and Elizabeths are going to be on to them.
  • They can "guess" on nicknames.  In my case, they’d guess Andy.  And they’d be wrong.  Kathryn could be Kate not Kathy and Elizabeth could be Betsy, not Liz.  So perhaps risky business but odds are they’d be right as often as they’d be wrong.  So have they reduced their risk by 50%?
  • They can address the envelope but not personalize the letter (just use a letter block format) and reduce the impact of potentially using the wrong name.

What do you think?  Do consumers excuse the misuse of their name?   Or does it make them feel less kindly towards the sender?   Do you think they even notice?  In a recent post, Seth Godin suggests that people thrive on seeing their name.  Does that mean it really ticks them off to see it incorrect?

Salutation or irritation?  That’s my question.

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