The “Good” and the “Ugly” – sending an educational guide to prospects vs. sending a press release
As a marketing leader at my company I receive dozens of email and direct mail vendor communications every day. Most are just average, many are awful and a select few are excellent. Usually I give each a 5 second review and toss them before I even leave the mailroom. One day last week I got two marketing pieces that I thought I’d share. As background, I’ve never heard of either company.
The first was a direct mail piece with a press release from BZ Media that explained in detail the executive moves/appointments at their publication Systems Management News. Several questions came to mind as I opened the letter. Who is the publication and why/how did I get on their database? Why in the world would they go to the trouble and cost to print a press release and send it to me via snail mail when an email would have been free? [ They have my email address since I also get numerous emails from their sales rep but to my knowledge I have never opted-in.] Why, since I’ve never been a customer would they assume I know who they are? Why would they think that I would remotely care about their internal management shuffle? This is classic brainless marketing on so many levels. Hopefully someone at BZ Media comes to their senses and actually engages me with some type of marketing of value…how about starting with a brief email or letter explaining who they are and how their service would benefit me? I guess they, and a lot of others, forgot the first lesson of Marketing 101 which is always, always remember to answer the WIFM question! If a reader can’t discern the value you provide or problem you solve in the first 5 seconds you’ve lost them.
In contrast, the same day I opened a direct mail package with a 40-page full color guide to direct marketing sponsored/written by MetricaDirect. It immediately caught my attention as a high-end piece worthy of more than the usual 5 second review and toss. They rightly assumed that I did not know who they were, so rather than just sending me info on their services they started with a thought-leadership approach to build credibility. The cover letter was well written and succinctly reviewed WIFM...explaining how the guide would provide proven strategies for solving some of my most pressing marketing pain points. I’m usually a skeptic when it comes to guides as they typically are company brochures in disguise, but this one is excellent….full of very useful information on demand generation strategy and tactics. You can download it here. I was left with a great impression of their company, checked out their website and bookmarked it in my “good vendor” folder (where I keep the only the few vendors I would call when I have a project).
Unfortunately, many in our profession either aren’t trained properly in direct marketing, or are too lazy to do the job right, preferring the spray and pray approach which is a total waste of their budget, and worse, creates a negative brand impression. It may seem obvious to say, but we need to take the time to understand the prospect’s pain points and quickly communicate how our product helps them relieve the pain (i.e. the value of our solution). Why do so many people forget/skip this basic tenet of marketing?