Friday, February 12, 2010

Uh oh. Someone at CIBC's in trouble about this direct mail...

Today I received a direct mail piece "inviting me to apply for a CIBC Aerogold VISA Infinite card".

Um, I already have one!

So, the obvious problem is that they completely wasted their money sending these mailers to existing cardholders. That's basically step number one when it comes to direct mail aimed at acquiring new customers: make sure you don't send it to existing customers! Direct mail 101 people. Huge oversight.

Here's the less obvious, but equally damaging problem: the impression I now have about CIBC. I've written a number of posts recently about the importance of strengthening your brand with your actions, not weakening it. This is, sadly, a clear example of how quickly you can damage your reputation. Many of the cardholders that received this in the mail will just quickly discard it and forget it, but many still will take note of the oversight and think poorly of the company that sent it.

This mismanagement of the corporate brand has less tangible, but significantly damaging implications. The next time I need to get a credit card, what recollections will I have about my experience with CIBC? Will it persuade me to consider a competitor's card? Don't know for sure, but we do know that significant damage has been done.

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