How do you feel about the marketing profession? Are we the good guys or the baddies?
Of course we all come into work every day intending to do the best possible job that we can, but are we actually in a profession that we can be proud of? Are we helping people or simply trying to flog stuff?
There are good marketing practices and there are terrible marketing practices. Unfortunately the bad practices tend to live in the memory longest. Few of us wish to be associated with the practices of the double-glazing salesman or the caller who interrupts you when your preparing dinner to ask “This is not a sales call, I wonder could you spare just 2 minutes to answer a few questions for our survey”. (Two lies in one sentence – it IS a sales call, and it will take more than 2 minutes!)
I often speak about the requirement to align marketing better with sales. If our marketing activities are not aligned with what the sales organisation perceives they need then we are doomed. I still believe that, however we also need to be better aligned with the client, or more importantly with the individual human being that we are engaging with through our marketing activity. I think we need to build RESPECT
To this end I offer a first pass at a Respectful Marketing Manifesto – a brainstorm of some of the attributes of marketing activity that we need to adhere to better. I’m sure the wise owls across the blogosphere have got plenty of suggestions to add to the list – I’d love to hear them:
- Humanise your responses. Responses are from people – they are not just digits on a spreadsheet. They responded for a reason – why was that?
- Every response counts. As Seth Godin once said, when someone engages with your campaign that is a privilege not a right. While its very tempting to skim off the responders from the largest companies or with the best job titles, you do so at your peril. You could easily miss key influencers, and more significantly not meet the expectations of the person who was taking the trouble to engage with your campaign.
- Deepen your client insight with every interaction. Even if your engagement is as naked as a telephone call asking “would you like to buy my product” (let’s hope it’s more sophisticated than that) – if the response is “No” (which shouldn’t surprise you in this example!) you could ask what their key interest areas are.
- When a client honours you with insights – record it and act upon it. You’ll be much more successful engaging in a dialogue that is aligned against their personal agenda. So capture it and use the insight.
- Invest in capturing interest areas. Interests can be explicit (ie the client tells me verbally or via web form) or implicit (he’s responded to my activity on topic x, so the chances are it is of some interest to him). Knowing and acting upon these insights will not only increase your returns on marketing expense, but will also enhance your value in the perception of the client
- Revisit how you use Newsletters. Do you use newsletters to push the latest things that are important to you (who cares?), or to provide the latest news and insight that you know is relevant (because he told you or implied it through previous behaviour). A Newsletter strategy linked to a contact self-profiling tool so that dynamic newsletters can be created feels like the core of a respectful marketing system.
- Stop sending so much stuff! If someone has taken the trouble to provide you all this insight into their agenda, why on earth would you want to drown them in other stuff in the how that they might be interested? Most of it is a waste of your time and a waste of your recipient’s time. Better to refocus your efforts on understanding your intended clients’ own agendas and figuring out how you can best serve that.
At the core of all of this is a change in the way we capture and leverage client/prospect data in our activities.
- Craft a message
- Select a target audience
- Blast off
- Determine your client/prospect’s own agenda
- Assess where they are on their journey
- Develop offerings/activities to help them progress on their journey
Isn’t that how you’d like to be marketed to? “All I’m asking for is a little respect”
Thanks Aretha – Sock it to me, Sock it to me, Sock it to me, Sock it to me!