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Relationship marketing is about quality, not quantity. This is not to say that numbers aren’t important; they are. Marketing programs need critical mass to succeed. However, the numbers follow quality. Why did the Old Spice Guy attract such large numbers? Because the content was really, really good.
Take a step back. For the past 20-plus years we have heard about the need to establish one-to-one relationships with our consumers. Go back 11 years to Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing and you’ll find one of the ways he thought we could build these relationships was through email.
But guess what? Most companies messed that up because they started sending out email that was self-serving instead of serving their customers. Somewhere along the line the idea of delivering personalized messages to loyal and engaged customers turned into a need to get permission from the most people possible, which eventually turned into simply getting the biggest list possible.
This hit home when working with a client several years ago. We walked into the annual planning meeting to discuss the goals for the coming year. After all of the plans were presented, the person heading up the marketing organization said, “Our primary goal for the year is to add 10 million names to our email list.” No financial targets. No engagement metrics. Testing and optimizing content were to be put on hold until that objective was reached. All of the energy and resources were directed toward the goal of building the biggest possible list.
Not surprisingly, the year was largely wasted. We met the goal, but other areas of the program suffered. Creativity on the content side suffered. The messages that were going out weren’t personal. Revenue did not increase in proportion to the size of the list because a lot of the names being added simply never became engaged in the program. We’d shifted away from the core concepts of permission marketing (and relationship marketing) to mass marketing through a personal channel.
Originally From “Here We Go Again …” | Published November 19, 2010