I got a handwritten holiday card in the mail last week. From a company. No, it wasn’t a local insurance agent or car salesperson. It was from a national company I order from online. I’ve never even met anyone from this company and they sent me a handwritten holiday card. And they wrote more than I usually write on holiday cards to people I actually know. I was pretty surprised. But then again, this wasn’t the first handwritten card they had sent me.
When it comes to impressive marketing, Chewy and I go way back. Chewy sells pet products. My cat Lilian is older than time and she eats prescription food. Chewy has it cheaper than our vet and I can get it delivered, so I buy it from them.
Turns out, Chewy knows their customers well. Not just their human customers, but their pet customers.
One of Lilian’s favorite activities in the entire world is sitting inside a brand new cardboard box. Whenever we get something in the mail, I open the box and put it on the floor for her. Chewy’s boxes are printed with their logo, but they also have a message inviting people to post a photo to the company’s Facebook page of their pet sitting inside the box. I like to share photos of Lilian without any invitation at all. But if someone is soliciting photos of her, well, that’s pretty much the invitation I’m always waiting for.
I snapped a pic and posted it to Chewy’s Facebook page. I had never done that with any brand in my entire life. I actually felt sort of lame for a minute. But then I looked at the photo again and was reminded of how cute Lilian is and I felt OK about it. The good people at Chewy commented that they liked the picture and I thought that was that.
A couple of weeks later, I got an envelope that had a handwritten address. (In all honesty, that was the only reason I opened it. I am terrible with paper mail and don’t typically open anything from any company.) To my surprise, the card was from Chewy. They wanted to thank me for my business and wish Lilian good health.
Wow, I thought. These people are on top of it. I guess I’ll keep ordering from them. (Mostly because they do a good job but also partially because they think my cat is cute.)
Fast forward a few months and the holiday season is in full gear. Buried within our stack of junk mail from every store in the entire world was a little handwritten envelope. Sure enough, it was another love note from Chewy.
No way, I thought. Unless they are employing elves, this cannot possibly be another handwritten card. It must be some type of extremely convincing handwriting font. Or a stamp of some sort. I held it up to the light. I tried smudging the ink. I compared the letters for consistency. (The s in “is” is a little illegible and looks different from the s in “hearts” and in “chosen.”) I showed it to my husband and mother to get their opinions. We all came to the conclusion that it’s pretty darn convincing and if it’s not actually handwritten, kudos to them because it looks good.
Being in marketing, I love to see when companies get it right. It makes me believe they will probably do other things right too. Because when it comes down to it, marketing is simply understanding what people want. It isn’t rocket science. It just takes a little creativity and common sense. (Elves don’t hurt either.)
Amelia Forczak is a Best-Selling Ghostwriter and the Owner of Pithy Wordsmithery, a company that provides strategic ghostwriting, marketing, and consulting for authors and businesses. Pithy Wordsmithery works with clients to ensure the message they are conveying through their website, branding, marketing materials, presentations, and social media is the best possible message for their unique business.