Amazing automated marketing message wows customers…

I’ve recently returned from a trip to the USA, where among other things, my family and I rafted and hiked in the Grand Canyon for a week.

I first did the trip 30 years ago and I have to admit, the 10 mile hike to get up and out of the Canyon, was a tad more brutal this time round.

A tad tougher hike this time…

Within a couple of days of returning I received an email survey from OARS, the company with which we rafted – I highly recommend them by the way. I dutifully completed the survey and thought nothing more of it.

But yesterday, I received this automated marketing message.


It’s a hand-written thank-you card, personally signed by all the OARS crew who looked after us on our rafting adventure. It is automatically sent by the crew to each customer, after they complete their trip.


My kids thought it was wonderful to hear from them and read every word on the card. It immediately brought back some fabulous memories and we all started talking about the different characters on the trip. The kids also asked if they could send cards back to each of the crew too.

The card now sits in a prominent place in our kitchen, for all to see.

It reminded me of a local hairdresser in my suburb. She is a very smart businesswoman who regularly wins small business awards and drives a very flash Mercedes sports car.

Twice a year she gets each of her staff to send hand-written cards to their clients. Each card includes a personal comment based on what the staff knows about their client. The owner calls these cards “wow” cards, because when the clients get them, the first thing they say is “wow“. And the clients always talk about the cards when they return to the salon.

How many of your clients go “wow” when they receive your automated marketing messages? I suspect very few.

So if you’re wasting money on expensive marketing automation software to try and fake authenticity, maybe you should spend less on computers and more on your customers and staff?

Why not send genuine messages of thanks to the people who pay your salary? Cause I seriously doubt your customers ever get as excited by fake personalised computer-generated emails sent from a team, as they do to real messages.

Who’d have thought hey – old-fashioned automated mail, packs more “wow” than customised automated content delivered as pixels?

Gotta go now – am off to the newsagent to buy some postcards for the kids to send…



  1. “Who’d have thought hey – old-fashioned automated mail, packs more “wow” than customised automated content delivered as pixels?”

    Yes indeed, I think there is even research confirming the greater impact of physical media over digital. Simple “Thank you” notes and cards aren’t hard to do but few people send them. It’s not as if this is some revolutionary “secret” tactic either. Plenty of old school sales books recommend this idea.

    Thanks Malcolm for the post and envious of your trip. I went to the Grand Canyon years ago but didn’t get to go rafting sadly.

    • Thanks Kevin, the irony of this card is it was sent from the team, each person signed it, unlike emails sent from teams where the signature says “from the team”. It has so much more credibility than automated email and doesn’t cost much. Grand Canyon rafting with OARS is one of the best holidays one can ever do – but that’s another story:)

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