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39 the end of irrelevance A letter in The Times, January 14th 2005

40 At dunnhumby we're in the business of dealing with retailers around the world and it's become crystal clear that there is no such thing as an average customer. Indeed nothing aggravates customers more than being confronted with irrelevant marketing and junk mail. Mr D. O. R. Mossman, whose letter from The Times is printed on the previous page, is clearly agitated by the way an insurance company has wasted his time by sending him a leaflet that is not targeted towards him in any way, shape or form. As Mr Mossman is not a 44- year- old woman, living in a particular area, driving a specific car, he will not qualify for the £ 200 discount on his insurance. Then why waste his time by sending him the leaflet? It's irrelevant to him. By helping retailers become better acquainted with their customers and personalise their offers accordingly, we're fighting the good fight against junk mail. Eradicating irrelevant marketing is good for customers and good for business. While the industry average for opened direct mail is a measly 1%, as many as 98.4% of Tesco vouchers are redeemed by customers. Indeed, around the time of year when the quarterly statement is due, customers inundate the Tesco call centre wanting to know when their statement is going to arrive. Tesco's quarterly statement contains three separate rewards for customers. First, a voucher which represents 1% of the value of their shopping, second, some targeted coupons from a customer's favourite brands and third, some coupons from brands they may not have tried but might like, according to the data. Tesco also sometimes sends direct mail on behalf of suppliers to relevant households, showcasing generous offers. So why is Tesco's quarterly statement so successful compared with average direct mail? The answer's simple - it's relevant. Cat owners are not sent promotions about dog food, vegetarians are not sent coupons for steak, tee- totallers are not sent price reductions on wine. Tesco customers don't regard their Clubcard statement as junk mail, but something they've signed up for and want to receive. It's part of the contract between Tesco and its customers. This is the difference between personalised communication and irrelevant junk mail. any colour you like as long as it's any colour you like