Tag Archives: American Express

From now on, I’m going to be more careful about what I say on Social Media.

From now on, I’m going to be more careful about what I say on Social Media.


Last week my friend Keith Fletcher of the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association called to invite me to a marketing conference with an intriguing title: Social Media/Legal Mashup. He wanted me to hear Gaida Zirkelbach, a lawyer, speak about social media. A lawyer?


Keith told me that she’s fascinating and I’d learn a lot. So, I went. And she was great. My first clue was that half the room was filled with lawyers taking lots of notes. If I ever have a problem, I’ll just call Gaida fast. She’s great. I wish I had a transcript of her presentation but I took notes, too, and here they are:

· Kim Kardashian said that she’d never use Dr. Siegal’s cookie diet, and would never do an unhealthy diet like his. Dr. Siegal filed a lawsuit and you can read all about it here: Kardashian Article

· Apparently the Ann Taylor Company gave a gift to people who blogged nicely about the company. According to the FTC, you must disclose that to readers. I already knew that. A few years back we did a program for American Express auto insurance. Instead of a traditional sales letter, we used a thank you letter from a happy customer. Our creative director edited it, and we sent the writer a small gift from Tiffany’s. We also added this: “I didn’t get paid for this letter, and my original letter was edited but these are my words. The advertising agency sent me a gift from Tiffany’s to thank me.”

· Gaida (and I) encourage you to read The Digital Milennium Copyright Act.

· Gaida covered a lot of ground quickly. She told us about a woman who spoke badly of her boss on Facebook. Her boss then fired her on her blog. I’ve noticed that people talk freely on Facebook and don’t seem to think that employers or associates might read it. They will, and do!

· There was a fascinating story about Houston’s employees who were griping on Yelp. One of the bosses had gotten onto the site using someone else’s i.d. The employees sued him for “invasion of privacy”.

· Gaida urged us to manage risk in social media by putting together policies for employees. She mentioned the Communications Decency Act, and her parting words were “think before you print”. I think she meant think before you post.

Late one night I was tweeting about my sick cat, Mortimer. One of my followers said that she didn’t care about my cat, and why would I think anyone would? This was followed by a firestorm of people tweeting support for Mortimer. They probably “unfollowed” her.

What American Express did about my lost gift cards.

What American Express did about my lost gift cards.

A few weeks before Christmas, I ordered eight American Express Gift Cards and was disappointed when they didn’t arrive in time for the big day.
Later, I asked Amex about the cards in an email and back came an automatic answer that they’d reply in a day. They did, which was good. Even better, they said they’d invalidated the cards and reinstated my points (and added some more to my account … for my troubles).
I loved that response. Amex tends to be like that; they usually do the right thing.
This reminded me of my friend David Hochberg who was a frequent guest lecturer at the Direct Marketing courses I taught at NYU. David worked at the Lillian Vernon Catalog.
He told us that people who bought a gift through Lillian Vernon catalog but returned it were always happy. Why?
“Because we take everything back, even personalized merchandise, unconditionally” he said. They also tracked everything and learned to their surprise that people who return merchandise purchase more items over a long period of time than any other group.
That makes sense. Obviously, I’m going to be more loyal to American Express now and have already been using their card a lot more often lately. So consider:

1. Make everything “right” for your customers.

2. Give them a little something “extra” for their trouble.

3. It will make you memorable, because the customer is expecting “push-back” from you.

Good Luck

Let’s consider direct mail, the workhorse, of direct marketing.

Let’s consider direct mail, the workhorse, of direct marketing.


Many years ago, the Chairman of Ford of Canada called my agency in to his office for help. He needed to have more women in Canada buy their cars. They were losing market share to General Motors (who actually knew how to train their salespeople to talk to women in the showrooms).

We developed a curriculum approach to building relationships with the women. It began with a survey, and a nice letter from the chairman asking them to help him to do a better job.

It was signed in blue ink by the Chairman(of course it was printed), but it still looked authentic.

Then he gave them an offer of a book, Car and Truck Buying Made Easy…after they helped him out with the survey.

All of the names and answers to three questions were databased.

If they were going to buy a car in the next three months, we sent them a $200. gift certificate to come to the dealership near them, make the best deal, and then whip out this special certificate for additional savings. The other groups were handled differently, and all groups got a newsletter to “continue the relationship” with them.

Now, they call these kinds of programs “trigger mailings”. If I do this, then you mail me that offer.


I’m just wondering why more companies don’t do that. They have triggers on line, like offers that come popping up, when you abandon the shopping cart. They have trigger pop-ups when you are about to pay, and then there’s one more offer.

Why aren’t more companies doing this in the mail? In fact, why don’t they write to me, when I defect?

For instance, about 3 months ago, I stopped using my Mastercard to get American Airlines points. Why? Because I realized I don’t fly that much on AA, and I’d rather get some of the exciting gifts they offer on American Express Membership Rewards.

Maybe you should consider some small tests, with trigger mailings, and follow-up. Might work wonders for you.