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Not long ago, I wrote about what we could learn from a bad email. Now, see what can happen when you embrace your customer data and become a full-time First-Person Marketer.

I look forward every year to seeing the special emails that brands send at the holidays. Some are engaging, some are quaint. Most were irrelevant. I hope you found a few and saved them or forwarded them to your team or printed them out for your 2018 strategy session. It’s important to do this because it helps you see what you could improve in your own program.

We all have our favorites, but mine this year is probably better than yours because it puts First-Person Marketing into action.

Christmas card for a road warrior

I travel a lot for my work. In 2017 I traveled more miles than ever before in my 15-plus years in digital marketing. I’ve given my travel devotion to American Airlines (AA), where I’ve reached the highest frequent-flyer status: Executive Platinum.

This year, AA gave me some devotion back with this terrific email recapping my travel year.

When I saw the email in my inbox, I thought “This ought to be fun to read and sad at the same.” Fun to see how AA reported my data, but sad to see how much I was away from my wife, family and friends.

AA did a phenomenal job at putting together a meaningful email. It pulled together the stats it has on me and popped them into the email in creative ways.

As you’ll see from the email image above, AA calculated my total hours in the sky (just over 10 days straight – longer than the Apollo 11 moon mission!). It reported my total miles flown as equal to 4.5 times around the world, how many cities I visited (24) and how many upgrades I got (35+. High five!).

I loved seeing the number of miles I redeemed for free flights and upgrades because I spent most of those 387,500 miles on flights for my family. Finally, I hope Adestra’s fine folks in finance see that I saved the company $580 in bag fees.

Why this matters to customers like me

This kind of data might mean nothing to you, but it does to me, and not just as a regular passenger. As an email marketer, I spend my days trying to persuade more marketers that using their customer data creatively can build stronger connections with the people who buy from them.

I read this email. I printed it. I shared it with friends and colleagues and on social media. I’m writing blog posts about it. This email made me happy.

All good feelings aside, this email illustrates what we mean about First-Person Marketing. In this campaign, AA showed it knew me as an individual, not just a member of a huge group (AA frequent flyers).

This email is incredibly relevant to my connection with the AA brand. When AA did think of me in a group, it was as an individual in a select group (top 15% of the Executive Platinum tier).

You can do it, too

The lesson I hope you take away from this is that relevance and contextual messaging make a difference.

This is what we strive for. This use of customer data shows people you recognize them as individuals. It’s something you can do, too. Yes, I’m a little dorky because I get excited about things like this, but if you’re not a little dorky about email yourself, what are you doing in this business?

Your customers demand this kind of information from you. These are messages that it worth their time and attention to open and read.

Kudos and all props to AA for putting this email together and to other brands that took time to compile and send recap-style emails to close out the year together on a positive note.

Now, challenge your email team to come up with ways you can remind customers about just how far they’ve come on their journey with your brand over the preceding 12 months.

*This article was originally published on Business 2 Community.