The other day I needed to buy a new kettle and after doing a little homework I discovered the one I wanted was £12 cheaper on Amazon than all the high street stores. More remarkable is that having ordered it on the Sunday on their standard 3 to 5 day free delivery, it actually turned up on Tuesday morning and I was able to follow it every step of the way on my iPhone, so I was mightily impressed.

A few days later I’m sitting in front of my computer doing some work when an email lands in my inbox from Amazon, “we have some recommendations for you” to my surprise there’s a list of kettles!!!. Here’s where I struggle, they know I’ve just ordered a kettle, and they even know I’ve had it delivered. They also know that when looking at kettles I thought perhaps I’d better have a matching toaster and stored some examples in my wish list. SO WHY ARE THEY SENDING ME AN EMAIL ABOUT KETTLES!!!!.

This kind of thing really annoys me as its easy to get right and in my opinion, quite difficult to get wrong. Nowadays understanding our customers couldn’t be easier; there are all sorts of ways to track customer buying patterns so we can ensure we approach them in the correct way, through channels they are happy with, targeting products and services that they will in all likelihood want or need. Don’t get me wrong, I like Amazon and use them a lot so it’s perhaps a little unkind of me to use them as an example as there are countless other worse ones I could’ve mentioned, they were just close to hand.

My point is, in these days of electronic wizardry you don’t need to be a large corporate to ensure that your communications are tailored towards your clients needs and desires. Using the latest technology and the Internet, you can find out a huge amount about people nowadays which coupled with ABC demographics can start to build a profile quickly. Through cleverly utilising online systems for market research and email mailings along with traditional methods you can add to your information database. Small leaflet drops are also an ideal way of getting to know the area they live or work in, thereby ensuring you target the right prospects. Keeping your records up-to-date will safeguard against embarrassing episodes such as the one I encountered.

So those who know the musical “The King and I” the words couldn’t be more appropriate….’Getting to know you, Getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, Getting to hope you like me’….funny that.