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My friend Nate introduced me to his friend Chris, who has a cat called Trevor. Trevor isn’t really Chris’ cat in the traditional sense.  He’s more Chris’ cat in the “visits when hungry, bored or wants to lie in the sun on the deck” kind of way. Trevor also proved himself entirely useless when The Cantle (the name of the house where Chris lived) found itself at war with a family of crafty mice. I say crafty mice because they managed to outsmart Chris AND his engineer housemate Brendan, before finally being wiped out in a bloody wave of retribution.

Consumer CatSo, about Trevor. Trevor can’t catch mice, doesn’t do much other than loiter on a deck that doesn’t belong to him and generally hang around uninvited. So why then do you suppose that Trevor was recently the recipient of some mail?

Yes, that’s right. Trevor got mail. A health insurance company sent a letter addressed to Trevor, who is a cat. And I have it on good authority that when the letter arrived, Trevor appeared out of the blue for said letter to be read to him. But I digress.

The reason Trevor got mail is because for some reason, some companies still think that blind, blanket, random communication will yield meaningful results. I don’t share that view. Today’s client – at either a B to B or B to C level is more savvy, engaged, educated and time poor than ever.  They are seeking more authenticity than ever before. They see through gimmicks and they don’t have time to waste on campaigns that are designed with a cookie cutter.  I like it when my dogs get mail from the vet. It’s cute, endearing and shows me that they think my pets are people too, just like I do. But when a cat gets mail from a health insurance company, I just think… plonkers.

If you are going to invest money in communicating with your clients (and you should) then at least take the time to be strategic. Make sure you are doing something that builds a relationship and trust.  Take the time to ask why, to measure, to probe and above all, to ensure that the person who is the target of your communication is not a fat, white, neutered feline.

What do you think?

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Gemma Tognini

Gemma Tognini

Business owner, communication specialist, some-time runner, ex journo, V8 ute driver, story teller and lover of shoes, WA’s Gemma Tognini is an often homesick half-Italian and passionate Collingwood tragic. She’s never far from a red notebook, where she jots down her plans, anxieties, business strategies, brilliant and ridiculous ideas alike. Now she’s flinging wide the pages for all to share. Welcome to The Red Book. Enjoy the read. Find out more at <a href="www.gtmedia.com.au">www.gtmedia.com.au</a> or follow her on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/gemmatognini">@gemmatognini</a>

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