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May I Speak To Ms. Company Inc?

by David Brock on June 30th, 2010

I got a really interesting email today–actually, I get these emails periodically from various organizations.  Today’s was from a very large company that we’ve done business with before (we are a customer of the company).  The email was very personal, it started:  Dear Dave……….   

It continued with an interesting message about our relationship, introducing me to new products and capabilities.  Overall, it was a pretty good letter.  At the end, it was signed by:  “Company, Inc.”  (OK, I’m chickening out, I’m not mentioning the name of the company—actually, I get these types of letters from a number of organizations).

Hmm, that’s interesting, how does a company sign a letter?  I wonder, if I wanted to respond to their offer, would I call their switchboard and ask:  “May I speak to Ms. Company, Inc. about her recent letter to me?”  Maybe I’m making a mistake, I wonder if it’s Mr. Company Inc?

It seem odd, in marketing and sales, we talk about connecting with our customers.  We focus on developing an nurturing relationships, informing, educating, understanding our customers.  We invest millions of dollars in software that helps us analyze, profile, and segment our customers–enabling us to focus our communications to their specific interests and needs.

Maybe it’s just me, but somehow it seems these letters and emails should be signed by someone—an individual, not Mr. Company, Inc.  Somehow, it would be nice to know that Joe Smith, Product Marketing Manager from Company, Inc took the time out of his day to send me this note.  I may never want to talk to Joe, or if I were to buy the product, I probably wouldn’t buy it directly from Joe, but somehow I feel closer to a company represented by real people, not Ms. Company, Inc.

If we’re trying to connect more closely with our customers, if we’re trying to focus on them as individuals, wouldn’t it make more sense that our communications came from individuals?

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  1. Do you remember the Microsoft.Net campaign, One Degree of Separation? Every time I saw it, I quipped 359 Degrees of Separation. Shortcuts disengage the audience. If that’s their goal, then they’re very successful.

    • Gary, thanks for the comment. Don’t remember the campaing, I have to go look at it. I’m always amazed by these “personalized” communications, they might just as well be addressed to “Occupant or Current Resident.” Rather than creating a closer relationship with prospects and customers, they are distancing themselves. When will we remember that people buy from people?

      Thanks for the comment! Regards, Dave

  2. The impersonal signature has a close grammatical companion: the second person plural address, linked with a passion for non sequiturs. For example:

    “America, you care about your quality of life while brushing your teeth. That’s why CrapCo makes crushlies for you. CrapCo and you: crushling it right.”

    • Dear Responder, I so much appreciate your response to this post…..

      Sorry, my sick sense of humor just got away from me Charlie. Thanks for the comment, both you and I could fill our blogs daily with stories like this. It’s really crazy that companies don’t pay more attention to how their communications are perceived. They think they are connnecting, but actually are distancing themselves.

      Thanks for the comment Charlie, have a great weekend!

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