Flawed Marketing Strategy Destroys Relationships Instead of Building Them

Recently I got an email from a self proclaimed 'connection' web site - notifying me of an opportunity that I might be interested in. After reading the email - immediately unsubscribed. Why? My business is a marketing and B2B service company. The web site had referred me to a client who needed at 'pest control company' in San Francisco and recommended that I call the potential client immediately to offer my services and give a quote.

The interesting thing is that I NEVER signed up for this site - but was added as a member (without my knowledge) by someone likely harvesting names from the internet or researching and locating small businesses.

This is not an uncommon practice for companies trying to build their lists and market their businesses. I can only surmise that they were truly trying to connect me or hoped that I would visit the site and revise a profile that I had never posted myself - so that it was accurate. They may have even hoped that I would upgrade my membership because I realized that they were truly referring people - even though they had mistaken me for a pest control company.

In another instance this past week - I received a phone call from another company who were 'processing and approving' my application to be listed on their prestigious list of companies. This was not the first time I had received a call from this company who claimed to be the "who's who" of reputable North American companies - so I was wise to their marketing technique.

They began asking about numbers of employees, years in business and other questions. I interrupted the caller and asked where they had received my application. I was informed that she simply was calling to verify information and she was not sure where my application had come from. I then asked if there was a fee to be listed - and she replied that there was, but that the fee was not due until I was accepted.

What an interesting - and what I consider unethical - marketing technique. Find a company - tell them you are approving their application for listing in a so called prestigious directory - and then collect a fee for membership once all the information has been collected.

The inference was that a business owner had applied - when in fact they had not. And a busy entrepreneur or business owner could easily be fooled into believing they had applied - were accepted and pay the membership fee.

Both of these marketing techniques are commonly used to build large membership based organizations. Domain Registry of Canada does something similar - again fooling business owners into using their company. More info on that here.

Is list building important? You bet. A good list is the foundation of most successful businesses. But more important than a big list - is a list that reflects customers and clients with whom the business owner has built relationships.

How does a business owner build a good list?

* Begin by cleaning up your data base - including customers and clients you have sold t in the last 2 years

* Make sure that you have as much information as possible about them (email and physical addresses)

* On your web site, offer a some tips, a report or other valuable information and collect names of people who are interested.

* Communicate with them regularly by:

1. sending a newsletter

2. educating them on trends or new products

3. sending coupons

This is an ethical and honest way to use a list for marketing your business. "Fooling" a client into giving you information or 'the sale' leaves the customer feeling cheated - and their likelihood of returning is slim. And it certainly does not encourage repeat business.

Considering 80% of a businesses profit comes from 20% of their clients - many returning over and over again - it is also a flawed marketing strategy.

"One of the keys to effective communication and dispute resolution is understanding ourselves and how we think and also understanding how others are wired as well. Each of us has personality styles that are unique to ourselves - however there are also patterns as well. When you understand the differing personality styles and their blends - you begin to see people as they are with more understanding! For more information on understanding personality styles please contact Mandie at president@roaringwomen.com."


Mandie Crawford is a marketing expert, business coach, trainer and motivational speaker who was recently awarded Calgary Business Woman of the Year for her contributions to the business community.

Mandie also has skills and expertise in providing high quality guidance in time management and system implementation for small a medium sized businesses. Her passion as a business and professional development coach is to helps women recognize their value and self worth.

She is the Preside...

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