Contact Us | 1-866-488-4474 |

Meeting Planner Direct Mail Promotions Gone Wrong

In the last month alone I have received three different mailings from meetings industry suppliers.  The problem is: I am not a meeting planner and have no business for their facilities and services!

It saddened me to see how these marketers are wasting precious resources to get business that doesn't even exist. They would have been better off giving the money to charity because it sure didn't do them or their brand any good!  In an effort to educate, and yes, perhaps shame a little, I decided to post these pieces for everyone to see.

The Scottsdale CVB:

This one came as a slick, nice-quality, four-panel self-mailer.  Not sure how much the postage was to mail from the U.S. to Canada, but I would estimate this piece to have cost anywhere from $2.00-$4.00 per piece, depending on quantities printed, plus postage.

I am unclear on how I ended up on their mailing list, but I am guessing it's because I was on the list of attendees at a show in the last couple of years -- IncentiveWorks perhaps, or even the Ignite Business Expo.  But I don't recall stopping by their boot to let them know I had business for them, since I was too busy to staff my own booth or the MPI booth.

So how could this mailing have been made better? Making sure I have business I can bring to them is the obvious answer, but personalization is another matter.  If you're going to go to that extent, it's cheap enough to have the person's name printed in the piece nowadays, why not go to that extent?  At least they targeted the copy to a Canadian audience, making a point that Scottsdale has very little rain in the fall, and daytime highs are near 26 degrees Celsius.

But even if I COULD take a group to Scottsdale, without a relationship from a rep, a follow-up call, an attempt to court my business, why would I reach out to them?

Maui Jim:

This direct mail was a bit better targeted to my needs, because while I don't have a group that could go South, I am in a position to buy gifts for my employees.  Not sure about sunglasses, but I could consider it.

This piece offered compelling reasons for the product ("quality, stylish looks everyone wants"). It had the right tone and spoke to me ("You've got enough on your plate, so let us help you out.").

But I am not likely to act on the piece because they talk about booking my next corporate event

This large company could have saved itself some dough if only they had pre-qualified their list! 

Speaker Bureau:

This last promotion was a heart-breaker!  So close, yet so... pointless.  Now I know this to be a small business, and this came from the company's President, so I could not show you this without blocking out the names (contrary to the above promotions, which came from larger organizations whose marketing experts should have known better). 

This package came by courier (in a local courier company plastic envelope, which was then placed in a UPS envelope... not sure what that was all about but I'm suspecting the sender thought we were located in the Greater Toronto Area, and we are not).  

It contained a personalized, hand-written note!  AND very yummy chocolates.

The note read:

"Dear Doreen,

It would be an honour to work with you and your team to source world-class speakers for your upcoming events!  (Nice intro, makes it all about me.  Again, too bad I don't hire "world-class speakers" -- which sound expensive -- for our Christmas party, or training).

After 27 years, our international reach and sterling reputation "speaks" for itself!" (Cute way to let me know they're experienced, but it's about the seller, not about the prospect... How about adding, "Could we have a conversation?" or something to let me know they want to engage me, not just fatten me up with sweets?)

It was signed, "Respectfully, Carol."  But I don't know Carol, and she has made no attempt to contact me since her unexpected, and likely very expensive gift (courier, time to hand-write the note, package the gourmet chocolates... what $15-$20??).

I'm sure there are many more examples of promotions like this out there.  In a previous post, meeting planner Cara Tracy, CMP, CMM, makes a very eloquent point of the importance of accurate lists.  And even if your list has up-to-date data the lesson here is to make sure contacts have potential for you before you mail to them!