Monday, June 11, 2012

Death By Marketing

Marketing is an important part of any business. And part of marketing is looking for potential customers and letting them know about your business. Now we've all heard about lawyers who act as ambulance-chasers, but did you know there are also "hearse-chasers"?

As you know from my earlier blog, my MIL died two weeks ago. Since then we've been receiving a steady stream of condolence cards. Mixed in, however, have been two examples of very poor marketing. The day after the obituary appeared on-line (and the day before the funeral), there was an envelope in the mail with a flyer from a realtor who could not only help us sell a home, but had all of the connections for disposing of unwanted furniture, household goods, and any other stuff. Really? He actually thought that was uppermost on our minds, before we'd even had the funeral?

The following week brought a personalized letter from a monument company. The writer at least had the courtesy to recognize that we might not be ready to think about that step, but hoped that when we were, we would think of her and all of the help and support she could provide. If this person had actually done a little research, she would have realized, based on the names of the funeral home and the cemetery, that we are Jewish. By Jewish tradition, the headstone is not put up (or "unveiled") until at least twelve months after the burial. So we won't be ready to take that step until next year.

And then there was the letter from the company that supplied the private duty aide at the nursing home. The letter addressed to xxxxxx client (technically my MIL, although I was the contact person), opened by saying they liked to elicit feedback and recommendations for improvement to their services, so they send a satisfaction survey at the completion of service. And the last line in the letter is "Our thanks and best wishes for your health and happiness in the future." Um, did you happen to notice that the client is dead? (Of course this is the same company that sent me a letter inviting me to give them my e-mail address so I could receive their e-letter. They sent a form to fill out with an unstamped envelope to mail it back -- no sign of their e-mail address.)

So, by all means look for innovative ways to find prospective customers and get your message to them. But don't be as clueless as these companies!