Like a Bad Neighbor: When Direct Marketing Fails

Last weekend I posted one of my first #FAILS on Twitter. Not quick to call folks out or slam someone with a #FAIL, but this one was too easy.

Saturday afternoon, I got a telemarketing call and nice work Do Not Call list! Yes I should have ignored it, let the machine get it but answered I did.

“Great News! State Farm is lowering car insurance rates in your area.” How fabulous: a telemarketing price promotion.

Here is where it went off the rails:

I am already a State Farm car insurance customer. After I informed the solicitor of that, he made no offer to upsell my coverage or lower my rates. Just “ok, never mind.” Click.

Just a few of the Marketing 101 problems:

  1. A telemarketing company working to sell State Farm (product)
  2. A defined geographical target (that included my area, place)
  3. No legitimate marketing plan for current customers (price and promotion)

A mere five minutes of computer cross tabbing and voila, someone could and SHOULD have pulled every phone number of existing customers off of what is presumably a paid-for calling list.

Waste. Waste. Waste.

One person responded to my Twitter #fail, casting blame on the direct marketing firm (as had I in my tweet) while championing State Farm corporate. Fine. But someone at State Farm has hired this company, is paying them to do a job and needs to rethink what firm should be doing its direct marketing and more importantly, how.

This is old school mass marketing and advertising–badly done no less–that will not work in 2010 as social media and strategic thinking push marketing communications forward.

What do you think? What bad, old-school marketing have you seen lately?

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