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What Marketing Earns Business? Not This.

by Steve Knutson on August 17, 2017

As the CTO and CIO at Marco, I get inundated – I mean inundated – with marketing solicitations. It used to be primarily mail, some email and the occasional call. Now, I can spend a good chunk of my day siphoning through it all. It’s almost become part of the daily duties as a C-level executive.

As our technology has become more sophisticated, marketing has become more rampant. It’s easy to send a mass email, even make it look personal and target and track your audience with cookies. In the first 20 minutes of writing this blog, I received five marketing emails. And to the left of my computer, there actually is a stack of marketing gizmos and gadgets.

Some marketers will do just about anything to get a click or a call. I’ve received “keys” to drive a Lamborghini or a construction toy with an invitation to drive an actual one at an open house of a new facility - with strings attached, of course. 

As a sales-driven organization, I understand where they are coming from. It’s not easy getting the attention of a C-level executive, let alone engaging one. But I don’t always agree with the approach. In part 1 in this marketing technology series, I share some of the tactics that drive me crazy:

  1. Gift Card for a Survey
    CTO_GiftCard_0817.jpg
    It’s becoming rare for me to receive simply a flyer. Most come with a gift card. Once I go to the custom URL, enter a pin and complete a survey, I receive a promo code for an Amazon gift card. It sounds like a sweet deal. But you can’t buy me for $25. You may think as a user you are simply giving feedback on the product. It’s actually a fielding technique to help identify potential leads to market to. It opens the door to a barrage of communication.

  2. Subject Line: Call Tomorrow
    When the subject line of the first email I receive simply states “Call Tomorrow,” I do want to click. I will give them that. But it is misleading. I am thinking that I got set up on a call for tomorrow that is not on my calendar. It’s really a marketing ploy. While they may get me to click, they won’t earn my business. Integrity in marketing always wins.

  3. “Did I do something wrong with my approach?”
    The last email in a recent two-week string from one salesperson simply read, “Did I do something wrong with my approach? What is the best way to get in touch with you or your team?” I laughed out loud. I almost wanted to reply. Instead, I saved it as content for this blog.

  4. Drip campaign that feels like a typhoon.
    Drip campaigns have become more common with the infuse of new e-marketing technology such as HubSpot, Marketo and Active Campaign. The application can be effective. But lately, more of these campaigns have felt like a typhoon. In one case, I received 11 emails in two weeks and many of them contained the same information. Sometimes they did not even get my name right. I can crank up my spam filter to try to limit these, but I also miss some “good stuff” in the process.

  5. A Tablet Sleeve
    I opened an envelope in my stack of mail and pulled out a sleeve for a tablet. As I read on, I learned that if I logged on to listen to their marketing message, they would send me the tablet to slip inside. There are strings attached, I promise.

  6. Name Drop
    A name drop can build credibility. I just listened to a message before starting this blog from a gentleman who said “Jennifer Mrozek referred me to you.” It does pique my interest. She’s a trusted colleague and a member of our leadership team at Marco. What I’ve found in most cases is that the salesperson cold called my colleague and got directed to me because it was related to technology. They call it a referral. But it’s really a call transfer.CTO_Glasses_0817.jpg

  7. Champagne Glasses, Construction Toys & More 
    I feel like the Little Mermaid in a sea of gizmos and gadgets. Every week at least one new one arrives on my desk from another technology provider trying to sell something. The 3D marketing craze is in full effect with champagne glasses “congratulating” me on something, keys to test drive a fancy car or piece of machinery and the latest piece of technology – just to name a few.

  8. Spoofing a Local Number
    I get calls at work and on my cell phone from what look like a local number. I naturally answer, thinking it is someone from my community, only to find myself in the middle of a marketing message. Does this drive anyone else crazy? A call from a spoof number will never earn my business.

  9. Trying to sell me something that Marco provides.
    I get quite a few calls or emails offering to provide me with the very same products and services that Marco sells. They didn’t even take the time to see what our business is about before contacting me. 

I could go on and on – unfortunately. Marketing ploys or toys don’t earn my business. Personal, value-driven marketing does. I’ll share some of the best practices I’ve seen in my next blog.

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