• March 1, 2006
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Marketing Needs Compassionate Marauders

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We live in a world of intrusive technology. And our always on, power-of-now society is tuning out, especially when it comes to marketing messages. Consumers are incessantly bombarded by radio, television, Internet, and email ad campaigns and telemarketing calls. Not only are consumers exposed to these campaigns in the comfort of their own homes but, with cell phones and portable devices, advertisements are following consumers everywhere they go. It's too much and, consequently, they are growing more frustrated and resistant to the companies that send them. Published industry reports have concluded this. Consumer response has also, as is evident from the successes of the TeleZapper and the Do Not Call registry to block unwanted telephone calls, TiVo to bypass television commercials, and spam filters for unwanted emails. Every day I'm constantly subjected to several screens of unsolicited emails, despite my (admittedly meager) efforts to filter them. What makes matters worse is, in my haste to skim and delete these emails, I'll occasionally and inadvertently trash an important one. What's more, our spam blocker, which is nowhere near 100 percent accurate, will arbitrarily bounce important emails. So it's understandable why consumers are putting up a wall for marketers. This naturally makes a marketer's job more challenging. The only way to knock down the wall is to gain consumers' trust. One way to do so is for marketers to celebrate customers' identity. Instead of simply adding more grist to the marketing mill, companies need to focus on quality more so than quantity when it comes to marketing campaigns. The marketing story by Senior Editor Alexandra DeFelice, "Creative Marketing: Thinking Outside the (Mail)box," offers examples of how companies have done this with some very creative ideas. The story provides some good examples of how companies like ABSOLUT and Kao Corp. (manufacturer of Ban antiperspirant and deodorant) are letting consumers incorporate their own creativity into advertising campaigns. There are also compelling auto industry examples from Land Rover and Lexus on the uses and benefits of experiential marketing campaigns. These customer-inspired and experiential marketing campaigns are a refreshing break from traditional mass marketing attempts that often fail to target or make a connection with customers. Another way to gain consumer trust is to leverage existing relationships customers already have with another group in your organization. Our cover story, by Senior Writer Marshall Lager, is "Social Networking: Getting in Touch the CRM Way."
It explains how companies can do this by using social networking applications. Lager explains that these applications can search databases and use weighting criteria to determine contact relevance. Very few companies are doing this. In fact, in a recent online survey we asked our readers: How does your company value its network of relationships? An underwhelming 11 percent stated "The relationship network benefits both our company and our contacts," while an overwhelming 76 percent maintained that "Each contact is much like the other -- a sales call is a sales call." Ouch. My hope, for the sake of giving consumers more control and less aggravation, is that in time the latter will decrease substantially...oh, and that our spam filter doesn't prevent my column from getting to the printer. David Myron, Editor-in-Chief, dmyron@destinationCRM.com
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