Calling Out

Let me just tell you how important I am. Over the past few weeks I have received personal calls from the Governor of Florida and most of the 2008 presidential candidates. Now if they only called once or twice I might not think I was that important; but I’m telling you it’s every day lately…sometimes multiple calls per day! I can’t begin to explain how happy I am to get interrupted multiple times per day to pick up the phone and hear an automated message from a politician.

Technology is a double-edged sword when it comes to marketing. It is the major enabler of so many of the New Marketing strategies and tactics the we read about every day. Internet-based mass calling services are just one of the many tools that are now accessible to anyone at affordable rates. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

There is no doubt that in the era of New Marketing your customer database is the most valuable marketing asset you have, particularly if you can leverage it into a permission-based communication vehicle. But a permission-based asset’s value is directly proportional to how excited your customers are about receiving your messages. Inundate them with too many email blasts, phone calls, junk mail pieces etc. and they will quickly begin ignoring everything you send. If you want to accelerate the process even more, be sure to include plenty of useless clutter and offers that aren’t all that exciting or unique to begin with.

The problem isn’t the technology. Mass-calling services are a wonderful tool that can be used effectively in a marketing capacity. The problems come when you start to abuse permission. If you have a bunch of customers that have given you permission to communicate with them directly, don’t do it unless you have a reason to. That’s the quickest way to erode your asset. Instead, make sure that every time you reach out to them you are providing something that is truly of significant value to them. If you send a discount offer, make sure it is a meaningful discount and not something that anyone who walks in off the street can take advantage of. It seems simple enough but I am continually amazed at the number of companies that screw this up regularly.

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