Don’t chase your customers out of the door

Tyler Brûlé, editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine and previously launch editor of Wallpaper, is a columnist for the Financial Times Weekend.

Not only is he frighteningly fashionable, he looks uncannily like Julian Assange, were the latter to be better balanced in the thinking organ department (read Andrew O’Hagen in the LRB).

Brûlé is also ferociously logical and relentlessly rational, not least when it comes to communication. His column this weekend concerned the effect that a well-intentioned, if thoughtless, piece of marketing had on his future interaction with the originator. Or, in simpler language, how dumb promotion lost a good client.

He had stayed in a hotel, had fondly discussed his return later in the year with its management as he checked out and then, at the airport in a quiet moment before his flight boarded, received an automated email from said hotel asking him to take part in a survey.

One hour later the same service sent him another mail reminding him to complete the same survey.

“Who thought it was a good idea to chase after busy guests,” he wrote in the FT, “and ask them for large chunks of time after they’ve spent considerable money with your hotel? How odd,” he continued, “that a hotel should spend so much money to tell the world how premium it is then let all unravel with a pair of emails.”

Digital comms and marketing are possessed of extraordinary levels of latent power which, in the correct hands, can deliver profound results. Nothing before has allowed for a more personalised customer/company relationship and yet the magical possibilities are often rendered useless by lazy and stupid people. A good team or agency will deliver, as standard, imagination and an endless supply of little grey cells.

A poor one will make sure your customers go elsewhere.