Quit marketing at me! by @projectmaven

We all get marketed to, all the time. Can you feel it? You do know that all of your moves on Facebook, Amazon, Spotify, The Washington Post – they’re all being tracked. If you actively use any social media tools, your thoughts, tastes and preferences have all gone into one central database where a custom marketing strategy is being created just for you.

Don’t you feel special?

If you are conducting any kind of business, you are always looking to locate your market, find your audience, your clients – the pool of available resources that will fund your continued existence. The stakes are high! You may have a great product, but if you can’t connect it to the right people, you will not thrive or profit.

When we hold business events, we are marketing. We market to bring in our attendees, and when we follow up with our guests, we are continuing to market to them in order to maintain a connection around our business.

How we communicate to people during the different phases of marketing to them says a lot about us, our business and our organizations. Do we treat them with respect? Do we honor them as individuals with intelligence and taste? Do we recognize their powers of discernment?

It’s always important to make sure you provide a value exchange to your guests or attendees. Whether a business conference, a product launch or a gallery opening, people have taken the time, energy and expense to be willing participants in your undertaking. You must make sure they come away from that with some valuable experience or insight, particularly if you want to continue a relationship with them.

Contests, polls, giveaways – each must be undertaken in a manner that treats your guests as you would want to be treated. Always put yourself in the position of the person you are targeting. Will you feel entertained or will you feel slimed? Pay attention to your own response.

Here’s a great example of what not to do:
A colleague recently accepted a free offer from a dentist for an introductory exam. After receiving his complementary services, he began receiving regular follow up phone calls inviting him to schedule for paid services. The last straw was a call he received at home at 7:30 in the evening. When he explained that it wasn’t really a good time as he was just about to put his young son to bed, the office rep responded, can I call you back in an hour? (!!) The next day when the office called back, my colleague informed them that he no longer wished to hear from them, and that he would be returning to his old dentist, because he couldn’t take being called four times a day anymore.

Never make anyone feel like that. If you build a respectful relationship and have something of value to offer, your product or service will sell itself. If it doesn’t, then you need to revisit how you are communicating to your market. And while you’re at it, make sure that what you’re selling is actually worth buying!

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