Riffing on Tiffany’s

Tiffany’s pays wastes dollar after dollar advertising to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the ads, but they’re pointless for me to see. Nearly everyday they’ve got a top-right corner ad on the third page of The New York Times. And, nearly everyday, I move right by it.

Why blow this kind of money?

Apparently, they think it works. And, I guess, if you convert one reader each day — even one a week — Tiffany’s will more than make up for their ad expense in the long run.

But that NYT ad money could be put to so much better use. Like: direct and personal, permission-based marketing. For the cost of a week of ads, Tiffany’s could pay a designer to craft a unique newsletter service.

Here’s the flow they should use for it:

As a customer or potential customer comes in to browse the store (online or in-person) offer him an instant coupon if he’ll provide his email address — maybe even give away an ounce of perfume or premium chocolate.

Once in his inbox, whether he makes a purchase or not, the service would follow up a week later to see how things are. Truly, that’s it, to see how things are and offer a quick comment/concern/question option. This round would include no sales pitch, no product info, just a one or two question customer service survey.

Next, over the following months, the service would send him more and more personal emails. It would learn specific things about him each time. What town he’s from. What his day is like — school, work, both, neither? What his girlfriend or wife does for a living. When their anniversary is. What her favorite colors are. Even, his home address — more free perfume or candy!

Then, after the service has compiled a database and established a unique relationship with the guy, after months and months of drip, drip, dripping into his mailbox and into his radar, then, and only then, does the service send a sales related email.

It’s headline would read, “Hey James, here’s the perfect gift for Hannah’s birthday!”

Perfect gift. Perfect pitch.

The service reminds James that Hannah’s birthday is coming up, and, since it knows her tastes and can approximate his budget, it would provide the absolute best gift option.

And all this would be welcomed by James because he asked for it in the store half a year earlier.

I’m sure Tiffany’s has something like this, but I’m sure it’s more like a generic newsletter. The Internet, email, direct marketing offers Internet marketers an absolute goldmine of personal, connected and precision-based tools to conquer the world with.

Why are we still throwing money out for TV commercials and yellow page ads? We’ve got a direct line to our customer’s and the tools to tell the best story possible to each one individually.