Know your target
IWCE is the largest land-mobile-radio marketing event of the year. Attendees will see a huge variety of products from every segment of the industry. However, marketing should not be confined to trade shows. Rather, it is a constant for any successful business.
In this regard, I believe that the Internet has made us lazy when it comes to marketing. Setting aside spam for the moment, marketing is not difficult when all you have to do is buy an attendee list and add those names to your e-mail lists.
Unfortunately, too many marketers fail to recognize how truly annoying this strategy can be to their audience. By failing to "scrub" those lists, the e-mails go out to folks who have no interest in the product or service. It isn't a big deal to receive one such e-mail a week, but dozens of these e-mails can alienate the recipient — the antithesis of the marketing goal.
Not taking any time to look at the backgrounds of the people you are contacting may be time-efficient, but it ultimately hurts your company. I've been asked on numerous occasions about how many people I'd like to have in the room when I do a presentation. However, that's not the right question. How many physical bodies there are in the room really doesn't matter to me. Rather, the salient issue is the quality of my audience. If the room is filled with people who need to be there only to fulfill an attendance requirement, I'm wasting their time and vice versa. I'd rather have only 10 people in the room who are truly interested in my topic then 100 people who aren't.
I love the lies that go with many of these e-mail marketing pitches. Many of them will claim that I've been contacted because I have a business relationship with the company. Amused, I will sometimes respond and ask the to describe the business relationship. I've yet to receive an answer.
In other cases, failing to even look at the target list results in some weird invites. Recently, I was pelted with numerous invitations to personally meet a company's CEO in Chicago. I have had no business dealings with the company, and they weren't looking to retain me. I finally asked the marketing person why she was sending me the e-mails. That finally got her to take a look at my address (which is not in Chicago), and she had no idea why I was on the invite list. How difficult would it have been to look at the list before the invitations went out? Am I now impressed with this company?
I've even had an interesting time with Oracle. For six months, the company kept sending me invitations to training sessions — training for which I had no need. Of course I hit that "opt-out" button every time — and received a confirmation every time. I even called the person listed as the contact, who had no clue regarding how to get my name removed, and couldn't even give me information as to whom I might talk to about it. If Oracle can't get "opt-out" right, who can?
I also receive a large number of press releases because I'm a contributor to this magazine. Usually, they are press releases that have nothing to do with land-mobile radio; most often they relate to the cellular industry. Again, the marketing folks don't take the time to look at who they're contacting.
Don't be a lazy marketer. Take the time to figure out who your audience is for your particular product or service, and then target that specific market. Don't chase off good industry relations by taking the easy way out.
What do you think? Tell us in the comment box below.
Alan Tilles is counsel to numerous entities in the private radio and Internet industries. He is a partner in the law firm of Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker and can be reached at email@example.com.