This is the goal right? We (Marketers)
are all looking for long term, mutually beneficial relationships. We want relationships where our partners
(customers, members, etc...) overlook our minor imperfections, appreciate our subtle differences and are as committed to us as we are to them....sort of like the ideal spouse right?
But, as marketers we usually don't approach our customers like we would approach a potential spouse do we? No, more like a drunken Frat boy at the first freshman mixer. Most marketers approach customers and prospects more intent on the one night stand than the long term relationship.... we know it's wrong, but we do it anyway.
Why do we do this?
Glad you asked. We do this because we have been corrupted into thinking that our Goal is to touch as many people as possible with our message. This is direct marketing 101 stuff, but I'll say it anyway. We have been corrupted by the Mass is Best message so long that here nearly 10 years after Peppers & Rodgers "One to One Future" we are still not there.
Mass is so ingrained in our practices that even when we have the most revolutionary tools ever available to marketers, we still measure success around analytics that should be at best tertiary, such as number of visitors or hits or opens or click-throughs.
Like any addict, Marketers need to take a step back and analyze our behavior....the goal isn't based on "hits", the goal needs to be something that really drives your business....Long Term Relationships (lifetime value). Now granted, none of us would ever get married if we didn't meet anyone, but ultimatly it comes down to a decision between superficial reach or deep relationships.
If our goal was to achieve that pictured above, how would we approach our customers and prospects?
We wouldn't necessarily try to close the deal on the first contact would we? We wouldn't try to close the deal every single time we talked to them would we? We wouldn't tell them today the same thing we told them yesterday would we? We would acknowledge what we have learned about them already and use that information to move the relationship forward wouldn't we?
We would treat every conversation as if it were critical to the future of the relationship. We would try not to do anything stupid, and we would be quick to apologize and make it right if we did.
Think about this with your email. You have been given a gift: permission to communicate with a customer. With email you have the technology to finally realize the dream of Peppers & Rodgers and so many other frustrated Database Marketers. Use it wisely.
(note: This marrage analogy is not my origional thought. It came from my favorite Marketing Book of all time, Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. It is required reading for everyone who wants to use email to develop long term relationships with their customers)