Good manners will always trump marketing content…

A couple years ago, the owner of a small industrial supplies company attended a marketing planning course I ran. As part of their situation analysis, they interviewed clients to learn what their clients thought of them.

A number of clients raved about this company’s customer service. Most companies would be happy about this result, but not this one. You see, their problem was they didn’t provide any – customer service that is. They were confused by what their customers were telling them.


Upon further investigation, they discovered the reason. They work in regional Queensland and the fax is still a popular technology. Yes folks, the fax has a long tail. Apparently they receive many of their orders by fax.

In case you have forgotten the fax, when you send one, you don’t really know if it gets through to the intended person. Given this fact, the receptionist at this particular company, took it upon herself to call anyone who placed an order by fax and thank them for their order. She did this because she thought it was the polite thing to do – that is, to confirm the fax was received.

thank you

Consequently the customers, who have never experienced a ‘thank you’ for sending an order before, were highly appreciative and very positive about the company’s ‘amazing customer service‘.

I suggested to the owner that he get the receptionist to always call anyone who places an order, thank them and establish an expectation date for delivery – making sure it was later than the company’s ability to deliver. Then ensure they deliver the goods before the expected date.

This establishes an even better impression in the customer’s mind about the company’s customer service – they always deliver their orders early. And it also ensures the company never needs to discount their products, so it builds brand value and profits.


On another note, I’ve worked with WWF on and off for decades – even dressed as the panda bear to raise funds in my save-the-world youth. They were having problems with retention of donors who’d been acquired after being accosted in the street. These donors were on a monthly direct charge to their credit card. Unfortunately after 6 to 7 months, they started churning rapidly.


Our solution was simple. Six months after their first donation, we sent a personalised ‘thank you‘ postcard to remind them of how their donations were helping save turtle populations. The ‘thank you‘ was printed using a bubble font in the trail of the turtle’s wake. Very creative and very effective. It stopped the churn and improved the revenue and lifetime value of the donor.




People find it difficult to throw away something with a graphical representation of their name – and many of these postcards spent their lives on refrigerators or the walls of office cubicles. These tactile messages are also a far more powerful ‘thank you‘ than an email.

In the modern vernacular you could classify good manners as small data delivered as part of marketing automation. Manners certainly make a big impact on your brand and your bottom line.

I’ve always said “your dollars are in your data” but more often than not, you’ll find there’s more to be made from your small data and some simple manners, than any other tactic – no matter how much content you create.


Thank you for reading:)


  1. Excellent reflection. The personalised postcard gained great popularity a few years back with some beautifully executed examples; sadly they appears to have been overrun by the stampede to email and others in the (urgh) omni-channel pack, with the cost differential all too tempting for most. But I don’t see too many emails pinned on refrigerators or the walls of office cubicles!

    • You’re right Phil – my agency did dozens of them for clients and our own seminars and they worked their heads off. Better ROI than email, but you cannot convince marketers today.

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