Marketers Need to Embrace Personalization
My email spam filters have been catching a lot of pitches from so-called list providers trying to sell me all sorts of contact databases—show attendee lists, software user lists, and industry-specific lists, complete with name, job title, employer, phone number, email address, and more—to help me with my marketing efforts. They suggest that I might need these lists for building sales pipelines, personalizing and optimizing campaigns, and expanding my marketing outreach.
I get a handful of these every day, and they are rightly being marked as spam and filtered out of my inbox.
But even worse, they are annoying. With just the slightest bit of work, the people who are sending these emails would see that I am an editor, not a marketer; that I don’t run campaigns or build pipelines; and that I really have no use for the names that they are trying to peddle.
Nine times out of 10, the lists have absolutely nothing to do with the markets that our magazines cover. Just the other day, for example, I got one that wanted me to buy a list of school maintenance managers. Another one wanted me to buy a list of air traffic controller supervisors, and another that I got on the day that I was writing this wanted me to buy a list of attendees for the New York City Bankruptcy Conference. I’ve even gotten some pitches that offer to sell me the attendee lists for conferences that CRM’s parent company, Information Today, runs. I’ve been tempted to get one of those, just to see how poorly their lists stack up against the actual lists, but I digress.
My point here—and it’s a point that has been circulating in marketing circles for years—is that you want to tailor your pitches to the accounts and the individual buyers within those accounts. It’s called account-based marketing, and it is the subject of this issue’s second feature, “Account-Based Marketing Refines Its Focus.” The premise of the article is that marketing over the years has evolved from mass emails to far more targeted and personalized outreach.
“We define ABM as being precise about who you are going to market to, understanding their specific needs, then selling and marketing to them in personalized ways,” Adam Turinas, CEO and founder of healthlaunchpad, a marketing firm for the healthcare industry, says in the feature.
Clearly, these list purveyors haven’t gotten the message. They’re still spamming out mass emails to any addresses they can find on company websites. Actually taking a few seconds to dig a little deeper into the names and email addresses that are listed on the website could go a long way toward avoiding wasted time and resources and the bad will that comes from harassing me with messages clearly never meant for me.
For some, this type of research might require some cross-departmental collaboration, which is the main theme of this issue’s cover story, “From Sales to RevOps.” The new revenue operations discipline “represents a new way of thinking about revenue generation that puts the customer experience at the center of everything a company does,” Becky Flint, founder and CEO of Dragonboat, states in the article.
Clearly the firms that are trying to sell me their lists haven’t been getting that message either.
And finally, there is a privacy issue at play here. Government regulations and industry best practices require marketers to get opt-in permission from consumers or have a prior relationship with them before contacting them with marketing messages. I have my doubts about just how closely these contact list purveyors have followed the opt-in/prior relationship standards. After all, they’re reaching out to me without my permission, and I’ve never done business with any of them previously.
I don’t mean to declare war on these list purveyors. I am just using them as a way to highlight the need for personalization within all customer interactions, whether for marketing, sales, or customer service purposes. Mass marketing no longer works, and it’s time for everyone in the industry to adopt a more personalized, targeted, cross-departmental approach. Everything else will just wind up in the spam folder and lead to unhappy customers and prospects.
Leonard Klie is the editor of CRM magazine. He can be reached at email@example.com.