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In constant pursuit of keeping up with the Marketing Jones Family, I came across a book by David Cummings and Adam Blitzer called Think Outside the Inbox. In this short read, the authors compare yesterday’s numbers game marketing style to today’s relationship building marketing approach. This comparison is further simplified to an experience we all can relate to, especially the singletons among us, dating. Below is an excerpt from this book that describes the outdated game of the more leads the merrier:
There are plenty of marketers who pursue the “Dive Bar:” strategy of lead generation. They’ll get phone numbers at any time, from anyone and everyone, and pass on these unqualified leads-on-cocktail-napkins to their sales team in the hopes that one or two might actually become a customer “love connection”. But what really happens is that your salesperson goes on a cold-calling binge and ends up hating himself in the morning, leaving you, his marketing BFF, feeling as though you should have done something differently. Perhaps you should have set him up with a nicer, more respectable lead. The kind you might meet at your grandmother’s church picnic.”
The book goes on with describing the pitfalls of mass email before moving on to how marketing has evolved into building relationships through targeted interaction and communications. The author’s associate today’s marketing “dating” experience to creating a match.com profile. In this forum a marketing agent would be looking for client “dates” that suit the “ideal catch profile” and selling to those matches, based on what the company has to offer them with a palatable, pleasing and personal touch.
As a single female, I am often asked what I am looking for in a mate. My most common reply, “A man who adores women, but not so much so that he feels compelled to collect the whole set at the same time.” There is no larger turn off that being approached by someone pretending to be genuinely interested in you, when you have watched them approach several others in the same attempt. No one wants to be just another number. Consumers are people. They are savvy enough to know when you are treating them like just another face in the crowd.
In the past, I use to produce copy for email campaigns that were designed for the masses. Yes, I was a marketing lounge lizard! Like other lounge lizards before me, I was often rejected. I grew tired of all this effort with so little return and began to look at marketing in a new light. The words of my parents and grandparents came into play, “Treat others the way you wish to be treated.” If lounge lizards were a turn off, then what was a turn on? Good looks might get me to take notice but looks are fleeting, so there was no need to develop slick looking HTML emails. Charming suitors are great at first but seem to forget their Prince Charming manners after a while, so no need to develop seemingly sincere emails that are more fluff than fact. Intelligence and the ability to hold a conversation seemed to be the long term plan for holding my attention…Eureka!!! Email marketing should be the seed to begin smart conversations, which enlist my consumers in intelligent dialogue about how my company’s resources could improve their business stance.
The road was long and difficult, as I had to change the culture of a whole company to see marketing in a totally unfamiliar way. Writing copy was a challenge, as more copy had to be written than before to cover the smallest aspects of the unique characters of our clients. Marketing plans now involved overlapping workflows to help keep the maze of materials organized. Great diligence was needed to enroll all the members of the sales team in being proactive in the program, beyond their usual wait for a lead ideology. The result: 52% closing ratio on all in-bound leads!
Greater than fifty percent closing ration! How is that possible? Consumers in a proactive marketing program are engage in dialogue with my organization. This dialogue includes knowledge base materials to education them on the programs offered. This education also includes the ROI and benefits of working with my firm. Therefore, when the sales team is handed over a lead, it is hot, knowledgeable and ready to negotiate terms. If you want to see you sales team jump on leads, hand them leads that require a minimal amount of legwork beyond the final steps to closing the deal. Nothing breeds enthusiasm like success!