Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Kind of Marketing That Makes Me Ashamed of My Career

I spent almost my entire working life in marketing, and I am pleased to say that I, and most of the people I worked with, behaved ethically at (almost) all times.

Sometimes, though, I get embarrassed, as a marketer, by the actions of some practicioners. Today's example: AARP. I got a mailer today that starts:
Dear Friend, 
"We regret to inform you that your AARP membership has been cancelled. Unfortunately, because we didn't receive your renewal instructions, we had no choice.
It then goes on to pitch me on the benefits of AARP membership and to offer me an opportunity to reverse my error. There are two problems with this.
1. I'm not their friend, and
2. I've never been a member of AARP and never will be.
A common complaint about people of my age (I'm 67) is that we are a bunch of greedy bastards trying to grab every government freebie we can and passing the bills on to our children and grandchildren.

It's an ugly stereotype, but unfortunately there's some truth to it. And AARP exists for the purpose of making it totally true.

And a mailing of this type, that tries to trick people into buying a service, rather than trying to sell it on its merits, does nothing to change my opinion of AARP.

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