Thursday, September 2, 2010

“To Whom It May Concern” - why bother?

I received a letter in the mail yesterday. It stood out from the 20 or so other mail pieces in my box. It was a solid envelope, good quality paper, nice logo and had first-class postage on it. It came from a well-known, prestigious organization that has, unsolicited, been sending me its magazine for years. I opened the envelope with anticipation. Nice letterhead. That same recognizable logo again. They wanted to engage me for my expertise, or offer me a partnership, or invite me to a high-level brainstorm, surely!

Then I saw it.
“To Whom It May Concern:”

The content (which I did read!) did not live up to the expectations the envelope, postage and letterhead had raised, but it did not matter. “To Whom It May Concern” was the deal-breaker.

Lesson: if you invite someone to do something that is supposed to benefit you as well as the recipient and a bunch of other people, at least address that person by name. Otherwise, why bother?


Peggy Parks said...

You are so right! The company that sent you the letter did not follow the rules of consistency. They made a great first impression by using good quality paper, nice letterhead, first class postage, and then blew it by using the "To Whom It May Concern:" salutation. They made you feel special at first and then you realized you were just one of the hundreds or thousands recipients. After spending a lot of money on letterhead and postage, they should have spent a bit more to personalize the letters. It does not take much effort but would have made a big difference. Remember, it's about consistency. Do not send mixed messages. Are you a first-class company or do you send out form letters?

Peggy Parks said...

You are so right. The company did not use the rules of consistency. They made you feel special by using good quality paper, nice letterhead and first-class postage but they blew it when they used the "To Whom It May Concern:" salutation. That's when you realized you were no more special than the hundreds or thousands of other recipients. By personalizing each letter, which is not much more expensive, the company would have not sent mixed messages. Be consistent in everything you do. One must always ask one self: "Am I consistent in every phase of my life or am I inconsistent in the messages I send out to the world?