The Personal Touch: Why Incorporating Names in Marketing is a Game-Changer

Have you ever noticed how your ears perk up when your name floats through a crowded room or buzzes in a text message, even amidst a digital cacophony? This phenomenon is anchored in what’s known as the Cocktail Party Effect, a term coined by cognitive scientist Colin Cherry in the 1950s.

It showcases our remarkable ability to zero in on a single piece of auditory information—our name—despite a flurry of background noise. This selective attention mechanism stands as a testament to the unique power and emotional significance our names hold, making them a beacon of focus in a sea of distractions.

Research in neuroscience resonates with this observation, revealing that hearing our own name not only captures our attention but also activates distinct brain regions associated with self-awareness and social processing. 

This principle transcends being a mere party trick; it embodies a potent tool in marketing, education, and beyond, emphasizing the value of a personal touch in navigating through the information overload of the contemporary world.

Poll: How annoying do you find it when people mispronounce your name? If I received a penny for every email that replies to me with “Hey Edwin” (I’m Erwin, but thanks).

“We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realize that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing and nobody else. The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others. The information we are imparting or the request we are making takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual. From the waitress to the senior executive, the name will work magic as we deal with others.”

Dale Carnegie – How to win friends and influence people

The essence of one of the tactics delineated in the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is captured above.

Although the title might initially invoke skepticism, the content proves to be one of my enduring favorites. Let’s delve into the subject matter. Following this segment, I will present a practical guide on how I incorporate these strategies.

Tips on mastering this skill

To commence, Dale Carnegie emphasizes the importance of remembering names and offers tips on mastering this skill:

  • Recognize the Personal Significance of Names: A person’s name is profoundly significant to them; it forms an integral part of their identity and, when utilized aptly, can serve as a key to their attention and goodwill. Acknowledging this can revolutionize the way we interact with others.
  • Make a Conscious Effort to Remember Names: It’s crucial to make a deliberate attempt to remember names, as forgetting or mispronouncing a name can result in a negative impression. The act of recalling and accurately using someone’s name signifies respect and demonstrates that you value the individual, which can be flattering and foster rapport.
  • Use Names in Conversations: Incorporating a person’s name during a dialogue makes the interactions more personal and engaging, facilitating a connection and making the individual feel acknowledged and significant.
  • Associate Names with Features or Stories: Enhancing name recall can be achieved by associating them with the person’s features, expressions, or even a story or context relevant to that person. This method simplifies the task of remembering names when needed.
  • Practice and Apply: Like any skill, the adeptness to remember and employ names effectively necessitates practice. This principle should be applied at every juncture, whether in a professional milieu, a social gathering, or casual encounters.
  • Understand the Impact: Employing a person’s name can profoundly influence the dynamics of the interaction. It has the potential to dismantle barriers, render people more amenable to your ideas, and even positively alter their perception of you.

More Dale Carnegie

There’s more to the subject, of course. Merely remembering a name won’t catapult your business or career to new heights. Rather than delving into the topics, which would result in an excessively lengthy read, I will list them for now and cover them in due course:

  • Become Genuinely Interested in Other People
  • Smile
  • Be a Good Listener
  • Talk in Terms of the Other Person’s Interests
  • Make the Other Person Feel Important – and Do It Sincerely
  • Avoid Arguments
  • Admit When You Are Wrong
  • Praise Every Improvement
  • Use Encouragement
  • Make the Other Person Happy About Doing What You Suggest

A Tangible Example: Using Carnegie in E-commerce

By now, you are likely aware that I am nurturing a webshop. If not, let me inform you that I am developing a webshop that has witnessed a 100% growth year over year.

We prioritize two main aspects:

  • Quality
  • Personalization

Here is a succinct step-by-step guide illustrating our approach:

Becoming Genuinely Interested in Other People:

  • Initially, we identify the primary concerns of our customers or those of our competitors. This involves:
  • Analyzing 1-star reviews to understand the customers’ main struggles.
  • Conducting surveys to directly inquire about our customers’ issues.
  • We then address these issues. For instance:
  • If products arrive in poor condition, we invest in proper packaging.
  • If products are frequently out of stock, we ensure only available items are listed.

Making the Other Person Feel Important – and Remembering Their Names:

  • A personal touch is added to each first order by including a handwritten note that:
  • Addresses the customer by name: “Thank you, Erwin!”
  • Expresses gratitude for their trust, emphasizing that building trust is our most valuable marketing tool.
  • Where possible, add a specific detail such as “Enjoy ‘Product X'” or “Hope ‘Product’ resolves your ‘Specific application/pain point’.”
  • Concludes with a personal detail; I always sign off with my own name to add a personal touch.

We aim to exceed expectations. Since receiving a package is anticipated, we use this opportunity to surprise our customers, perhaps by including some complimentary goodies like stickers, which can also be utilized for future promotions.

  • For repeat customers, we create a personalized coupon offering a 10% discount. The code incorporates the customer’s name, for example, “Erwin10,” as opposed to a generic code like “BlackFriday10.”
  • We have observed that customers tend to become recurring buyers after their third purchase. Hence, we provide an extra incentive to encourage a third transaction through the discount code.
  • The decision to make a second purchase is often influenced by the quality of service and the additional goodies, thereby exceeding expectations.

Smiling and Making the Other Person Feel Important – and Doing It Sincerely:

  • Last year, we went above and beyond by sending handwritten Christmas cards to our 100 most frequent customers, underscoring that:
  • Customer retention is more valuable than mastering new client acquisition strategies.
  • Authenticity is key. Our aim was not to sell more but to genuinely thank our customers for their trust throughout 2023, with the cards signed by our team members. The cards were custom-made and aesthetically pleasing, with no underlying sales agenda.

Making the Other Person Feel Important – and Doing It Sincerely, Avoiding Arguments, and Admitting When We Are Wrong:

  • Whenever we encounter an issue, we strive for a solution that surpasses expectations, rather than merely issuing a refund and moving on. For example:
  • In instances where a product is out of stock, we not only ship a replacement item for free but also refund the original purchase, extending our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
  • Should a product arrive damaged, we promptly replace it without any questions, even if the fault may not lie with us.

We’re dedicated to exceeding expectations and genuinely valuing our customers, but this is just a glimpse into our comprehensive approach. If you’re interested in delving deeper into how we strive to surpass customer expectations, I invite your feedback below.

Wrapping it up

Understanding and leveraging the power of names can significantly enhance personal and professional interactions. By adopting Dale Carnegie’s timeless principles and integrating them into modern business practices like those in my webshop, we can foster deeper connections, improve customer satisfaction, and drive growth.

The essence of personalization, underpinned by the respect and recognition of an individual’s identity through their name, is more than a strategy; it’s a fundamental aspect of meaningful communication. As we navigate the complexities of the digital age, let’s not forget the simple yet profound impact of a name, and strive to make every interaction count.

Links to recommended reading:

Book: How To Win Friends And Influence People