Account Based Management (ABM) is about combining the art and science of relationship management to tell a better story. Yet, we marketers are ubiquitous in plastering our messaging in every social nook and inbox cranny that we can use to get the word out about our products and services. The digital noise is so deafening that it can seem nearly impossible for an organization to make themselves heard. Regulations, spam filters and general apathy have drowned out our ability to boost awareness and conversions. What if I told you there was a way to stand out from the crowd and tell that better story?
When was the last time someone sent you a handwritten postcard? You may remember back a couple of decades ago when personal touches included a bit of ink and elbow grease, like putting pen to paper. That art has become less common today, as people have moved in the direction of email and other online communications. Today, people are no longer accustomed to seeing their name in a thoughtfully written card, but this is received more fondly than the junk mail of the past.
Sending handwritten postcards can be more than a thoughtful and personal way to communicate your story to friends and loved ones. It is a small but meaningful gesture that can brighten someone’s day and let them know that you are thinking of them. It can also be a powerful tool for marketers to create and maintaining relationships.
Consider The Holidays
Every December, there is a crispness in the air as we can hear the music and good cheer approaching. We think the holidays are upon us again, and you know what that means? It’s time to write holiday cards. Consider whether you put as much care into cards you send to your clients and prospects, as the cards you write to your friends and family. A customized and personalized card may pick up the spirits of those that read it, while also helping you form an emotional connection at deeper level with them.
This past holiday season, the AMA Boston Sponsorship Team applied our ABM approach to the art of card writing. We sent cards to some current sponsors and a few we hope that will join us in the future. We researched to discover some important activities they were engaged in or awards they’ve won over the last year.
Our research technique included checking out the individual and company LinkedIn profiles and posts with an eye on preferences and triggers for problem-solving. We followed this up by looking at Google and searching for any awards, announcements or news that included the name of the company or the people we are building relationships with. We really wanted to better understand who our sponsors are and what is most important to them.
We designed the cards this past year with two of Boston’s greatest innovators on the front, John and Abigail Adams. Visually, we wanted the cards to pop for the holidays, so the color choice was black and white images of the Adams on an AMA Blue field with brightly colored red Santa hats. The intent was to hopefully put a smile on the face of the reader and put them in a festive state of mind. The back of the card starts with a standard message to remind the reader of who AMA Boston is, telling our story in one or two sentences, about how we help the Marketing community and our desire to stay in touch.
Then came the handwritten portion of the card. With a bit of inspiration and insight, we used our sponsor research to drive individualized messages for the cards. We tried to consider what message would be the most impactful in this time of cheer. We put pen to paper (or card in this case) and with our best penmanship, wrote our cards. Soon the cards were done, put in the envelope, stamped and sent on their way. We had the cards in the mail early in the month, so all of our sponsors have their cards in hand while they make final preparations for the holidays.
We’ll work to measure if the activity generates new sponsors or retains old ones. However, relationship building is a process, the effort does have a greater chance of success because it’s targeted and based on good intelligence.
I cannot say there was a direct correlation between the postcards, but two of the existing sponsors emailed out of the blue afterwards.
You Can Do It!
This is something that can be done on a budget by practically any marketing team. There are many ways to send handwritten postcards. You can purchase blank postcards or create your own using card stock and a printer. Once you have your postcards, you can write a personalized message and add any other details or decorations that you would like. Then, simply address the postcard and put it in the mail. It is a simple process that can bring joy to both the sender and the recipient.
You can send postcards at any time during the year. While the holidays provide a convenient excuse for reaching out, there really is never a bad time to do this. Cards can do more than advertise upcoming events. Postcards can be a great way to provide useful tips & tricks that readers can keep next to their desk, conveniently with your logo and contact information on them. Cards can boost morale and influence opinions. Personalized postcards can be useful in building a relationship as part of an ABM strategy. Tell your story and help your contacts tell theirs.
Are any of you writing cards? Tell us in the comments how you have been able to connect with your clients through strategies like this.
One more thing
Want to try your hand at developing a strategy, and executing a tactic? Volunteer with the AMA’s sponsorship committee. You can work on a single campaign to multiple depending on your time available. Try out an ABM campaign in the AMA Boston sandbox, and then take those lessons back to your own career.