Marketers shouldn’t use bad marketing to sell themselves

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By Linda Moran

Every day for the past week or so I have been receiving emails – via the company’s general delivery box – promising me “Leads! Leads! Leads!” and that I will “get so many leads my sales will go up!” Though faintly reminiscent of Viagra-type communications, I’ve been reading these messages from a “marketing publicity” agency. As a marketer, I pay a lot more attention to the brochures, magazines, direct mail pieces and emails that are sent my way than most people would. As a person who also buys marketing services, I get a lot of this stuff.

OK, so the emails are promising me leads and huge increases in sales if I use them for my media relations program. Do I want more leads? Yes. Oh yes. That definitely plays into what most B2B tech companies are looking for. Do I want to work with a company that sends me multiple unsolicited emails, with hyperbolic claims, no Web site link and a call to action that involves clicking to have someone other than the signatory get in touch with me? No. And if this is how you are trying to engage prospective clients, how are you approaching editors? Because, surprise surprise, I actually know something about PR. (An aside: why do so many vendors assume we marketing communications professionals are a clueless bunch and need every single thing explained to us in detail?)

I don’t know about other marketers out there, but I find it difficult enough to manage the expectations of my management team as to what marketing communications can do. (Think about the number of times you’ve had to explain the difference between advertising and PR.) I’ve had such messages forwarded to me by C-level execs over the years with notes about “checking this out” because, hey, they’re promising more leads and that’s what we need. And a promise is better than whatever other nebulous activities marketing is planning right now. “In Marketing We Trust” will never be a corporate motto, I’m sure.

Given that marketing is so heavily scrutinized at budget time, results-driven programs are what we are all living for. The “marketing publicity” agency knows that but should know better than represent public relations – or any single marcom activity – as a silver bullet to a company’s challenges in bringing in business.

Guest blogger Linda Moran is a marketing communications strategist currently with Sciemetric Instruments.

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