Cold Comfort from a Chief Marketing Officer

This evening, my wife received a letter from a Chief Marketing Officer of an insurance company, that leaves her none the wiser, is quite possibly near hopeless at selling, and gives, what I feel, “cold comfort”.

My wife, upon reading, remarked, “So, is it going to lapse or continue? What do they want me to do?”

The letter, as you’ll read below, could’ve done a lot better. I’ll also give 6 points why, and how it can do better.

Dear xxx,
XXXPrestige Programme
We hope that we have been of service to you, and that you have enjoyed the host of privileges that are exclusive to XXXPrestige.
As we look forward to your continued support as a valued XXX customer, we regret to inform you that your XXXPrestige membership will lapse in 3 months’ with effect from 31 January 2017.
This exclusive programme is extended to customers who maintain a minimum of S$10,000 in yearly premiums or S$100,000 in a lump sum premium payment, or a combination of both. As part of the privilege of being a XXXPrestige customer, you and your family members (spouse, parent & child) will also enjoy savings of 10%* on the first year premium for selected products.
To find out more about your XXXPrestige membership, please contact your XXX Financial Consultant, XXX at 65-12345567 or our XXXCustomer Line at 1800 7654321 for assistance.
Yours sincerely,
Executive Vice President &

Chief Marketing Officer

cc. XXX (Financial Consultant)

Customer information is accurate as at 30 September 2016
*Terms and Conditions apply. Visit for full details.

Here’s what I feel is wrong with it:
  1. The letter doesn’t remind the reader about the exact list of privileges she enjoys. Honestly, who remembers? As a seller, you know your product, but never assume your buyer does.
  2. No clear, or weak Call To Action. What did you want the reader to do? Ignore the letter? Let it lapse? Maybe hopefully have her guess your intentions and keep her premium above certain levels? What is it do you want the reader to do?
  3. Don’t use % to show how much someone can save. If you’re expecting $10,000 to $100,000 in premiums, a “privilege” of 10% when applied to a $100 product can give a measly figure of $10 savings in the reader’s mind. Why not just state a dollar figure of potential savings from a range of products? $1000 – $10,000 savings, maybe? Don’t you think that’ll sell better? For now, it only gives cold comfort that maybe the reader is getting some discounts off some products that she probably hasn’t bought.
  4. What are the selected products? You mention them, in two words, and that’s it. Should the reader be interested in your selected products? If you’re trying to sell those products, you need to list and talk about them, and promote them in an interest-grabbing way.
  5. There’s no incentive for a reader to find out about her XXXPrestige membership. What’s in it for her? What benefits are there? Why should she make the effort and spend maybe 5-10 minutes of time to call?
  6. That infernal asterisk tagged to “10%” can infer that you’re not really sincere about giving a discount. Why? Because it usually means “Oh, we’ll give it to you, but first, here are some terms and conditions…” Why? I mean, aren’t you trying to sell something? Why make it difficult for both yourself and your customer? Get rid of it. Say what you mean, and do what you mean.

Try applying some changes based on what I wrote above. Think you’ll sell worse? Or better?

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