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A Meeting Planner's View: What an Outdated Mailing List Says to Your Customers

This post is by guest contributor Cara Tracy, CMP, CMM. Cara is a meetings industry professional who has been on the supply side of the industry, as well as the planning side. She offers great advice to hotels, CVBs and anyone else who provides proposals to meeting planners -- check out her blog.

Want a surefire way to waste money, kill trees and show how out of touch you are with your customers? Use an old mailing list!

When was the last time you updated yours? I received a promotional brochure from a meeting industry supplier last week that was addressed to the person who had my job sixteen years ago. Sixteen years, people.

Now one could argue, the brochure made it to me so the supplier accomplished one of it’s goals. Yes—it made it to me because my predecessor’s title was also on the mailing label. The person in my office who sorts our mail doesn’t have a list of former employees that goes back that far.

But here’s the issue … I received it and the first thing I noticed was the addressee and the next thing I thought was “Boy, are they out of touch!” Not “Wow! What a great promotion!” or “This would be great for my next meeting.” In fact, I don’t even remember who sent the piece.

Guess it didn’t meet the rest of their goals, did it?

If you insist on using snail mail to reach out to your customers, keep your records up to date. I assume you make regular solicitation calls. As part of that process, confirm the customer’s information, including designations (they may have earned a new one recently and it’s a nice way to honor them.) Or have an assistant or an intern make calls to verify information. If that is the only purpose of their call, I recommend they call the client’s main switchboard rather than taking up the planner’s time.

How do you feel when you receive mail addressed to a predecessor or with wrong information on the mailing label? What else can you do to ensure this doesn’t happen to your customers?

And of course, Greenfield Services can help you update that mailing list... Give us a shout!