Each day I get more than one hundred emails with titles like these:
What’s Happening This Week at Shmegegge Meshuganah & Putz
The XYZ Corporation’s Monthly Update, and
MBHSCBA Newsletter – November 12, 2012
They went directly into my deleted spam file right along with:
Ring In The Holidays With Deals Galore
Cobra Coverage for Everyone, and
Remove Moles and Skin Tags While You Sleep!
You know why I throw them all away? BECAUSE I DON’T CARE.
Now before you brand me as unnecessarily harsh, let me suggest that you don’t care either. Fact is, no one cares.
Well, that’s not entirely true. Someone does care… The people who send out those newsletters must care.
But no one else cares. Why? Because there’s nothing in those newsletters for me.
How does my life improve by knowing whom Shmegegge and Meshuganah hired this week? How does my business get better by reading about the XYZ Corps’ move into new markets? How does my family grow and prosper by knowing what MBHSCBA is doing?
They don’t. And yours don’t either.
But those are the things I care about and spend a lot of my time thinking about. And while your priorities may be slightly different, I’m willing to bet that those types of things are important to you too (as long as you substitute your life, business, and family for mine, I mean).
I read things that educate me, entertain me or enlighten me. And sometimes, when I’m really lucky, the things I read do all three at once. But I don’t read self-serving claptrap that has no relevance in my life. I simply don’t have the time, inclination or patience.
And I’ll bet you don’t either.
So why do our inboxes continue to get cluttered with so much junk? Because the people who send them out haven’t stopped to think about what they’re sending or who they’re sending it to. More to the point, they don’t think about why anyone would invest the time to read their mailings.
Instead, they hire or coerce someone in their office to manage their newsletter. And pretty quickly the task changes from creating compelling content to making sure that the document gets distributed on time. Ironically, even with this approach the schedules become compromised. After all, creating the first newsletter is fun. The second newsletter is three weeks late. There is no third newsletter.
So what’s the solution? Quite simply, marketing information should be created with one thought in mind — making your mailers All About Them. That is, being single-minded about creating content that is highly relevant to your potential readers.
As I said, I read things that educate me, entertain me or enlighten me. So the benchmarks I use for this blog are the same — I want to make it useful, enjoyable, and valuable to you. And my Web metrics tell me almost immediately when I’ve been successful and captured my audiences’ interest and when I’ve penned a digital dud.
Experience has taught me that when my blog is all about me, it doesn’t resonate. But when it’s All About You, it gets opened, read, and passed on to a larger and larger audience than I could ever reach on my own.
I bet this idea will work for you, too.
There’s a lot more to interactive digital marketing than eye-catching banner ads, discount packages, and clever domain names.
Marketing gives personality and differentiates for advantage. Marketing creates relationships with customers that go deeper than anything you sell or make. And of course, social marketing facilitates those relationships and drives word of mouth.
2012 is the year to stand out in a me-too online world.
The Seven-Step Recipe for 21st Century Marketing Success:
1. People don’t buy brands. They join brands.
Interactive marketing is about brand relevance and consumer involvement. Your challenge is to create a sense of identity or belonging while fulfilling people’s expectations of what they will get in exchange for allowing you into their lives.
2. What’s currently relevant is constantly changing.
Fortunately the Web offers the unique ability to reach and bring together like-minded customers from all over the world.
3. You can market to one and all.
Any one prospect can be multiple customers: Business services decision-maker, luxury products consumer, grandparent, community leader. Green. Black. Gay.
4. You can change to be what your customers need.
On the Web you have the unprecedented opportunity to put on a different face to different communities or market segments.
5. Connecting people to each other connects them to you.
On the Web people search out and share marketing messages they fast forward through on TV. Combining traditional media with the power of the Web, you can turn transactions into relationships and transform your brand into something that people want to be a part of for the rest of their lives – and one generation to the next.
6. Money can be made without selling anything.
The leadership position is still open on today’s most pressing issues. The socially responsible corporation, Web site or portal that creates a shared sense of common purpose will offer a legacy in providing everyone a place to record how the future is better for our having been here.
7. Digital is how it all happens.
But digital marketing only delivers its promise when integrated into a larger marketing mix. It takes new thinking to take full advantage of the Internet’s potential.
a. Cross-promotion that shares costs and extends budgets.
b. Redirection of advertising dollars to collaborative efforts that raise awareness and sales.
c. Ideas as themes, products, promotional vehicles, and monetized resources.
Remember, the new model is collaboration, not competition.
When his gloved hands were too far down my throat for me to answer, the dentist told me I needed a gum graft. “But I don’t do that,” he added, “You need to see a periodontist.”
I nodded. And after I took care of my co-pay, I got the referral, made the appointment and went for the procedure.
Leaving the periodontist’s office with an ice pack on my face a few weeks later, I asked when I should go back to my dentist for my next cleaning.
“Don’t do that,” the periodontist replied, “You need to come back here for a deep clean. Only my office is equipped to do that properly.”
A few months later I got a postcard with a frowning clock’s face cartoon on it from my old dentist. “What time is too late to go to the dentist?” it asked. “Tooth-hurty.” But of course I didn’t need to see that dentist anymore because the periodontist’s office was now doing my cleanings.
Every four months a new card would show up from the dentist’s office. But after a year or two I noticed they stopped coming.
Here’s what I think happened: The dentist hired a new office manager who never got around to sending the reminder cards. Or maybe they hired a new I.T. manager who thought that the list should be purged of all the patients they hadn’t seen in more than a few years. Or perhaps their hard drive crashed and they simply lost their database of contacts.
What I know is that was the end of any continuing relationship (and revenue stream) between the dentist’s office and me. And whether the periodontist’s actions were Machiavellian or coincidental or simply routine is irrelevant. The dentist’s office lost a steady customer and all of the potential business they would have gotten from me – and my family and friends – over the years.
Now think about your business.
Do you have an efficient and effective system in place to keep in touch with your customers? Do you make the time and effort necessary to communicate with them and let them know why you matter in their life? Do you stay in touch because it’s convenient for you or because it’s convenient for them?
And when you haven’t heard from them for a while, do you find out why? More important, are you even aware that you haven’t heard from them in a while?
Because we’re so busy running our day-to-day businesses, many of us simply forget to manage our contact list. Often we assume that no news is good news and if our customers aren’t complaining then they must be happy.
But there’s got to be a reason why good businesses live by the old saw: “If you’re happy tell a friend; if you’re unhappy, tell us.”
One of my favorite TV commercials is a 1990’s United Airlines’ spot. In it, an exhausted business owner named Ben explains to his gathered staff that the firm’s oldest customer “…fired us. After 20 years he said he didn’t know us anymore.”
Ben goes on to explain that they used to do business with a handshake but nowadays “it’s a phone call and a fax” and that no one works face-to-face anymore.
“Well folks,” Ben sighs, “something’s got to change. That’s why we’re going to set out for a little face-to-face chat with every customer we have.”
As Ben’s assistant hands out airline tickets to everyone in the room, the voiceover says, “If you’re the kind of business that still believes that personal service deserves a lot more than lip service, welcome to United.” And when an employee asks the boss where he’s going, Ben answers, “to visit that old friend…who fired us this morning.”
There’s a whole lot to learn in this spot, about good filmmaking, good marketing and good customer service. You can watch it by clicking here: United Airlines
Then you can make even better use of your time by picking up the phone and calling the customer who could have fired you this morning.