Everyone hates getting junk mail, but sending it works... where as a marketer do you draw the line?

Jared Hamilton
This came from Timothy Martell and a comment he made on a post by Brian Pasch. What he said was, "I know, we all hate spam. We all hate telemarketers. We all hate junk mail... But lets face it. If it didn't work and people weren't willing to spend money on the results it generates it would simply go away. We live in a capitalist society. The market dictates what is and is not valuable." The question I pose is where do you as a marketer draw the line and why? I HATE getting facebook spam from "Social Media" experts, but lets face it... it works and brings them results. Is aggressive marketing just that, aggressive marketing? Sometimes I think this is one of those situations where, "if you cant beat them, join them." but then I look inside and I always go back to what I believe in my heart, and I cant stand social media spam, so I avoid it. Where do you fit in as a marketer? How do you sort through this? You know customers hate direct mail, its wasteful... but you still send it don't you?
Richard Valenta
How is it possible to get spammed on Facebook if you have the choice as to who your friends are and what pages you like?
Timothy Martell
So I'm probably going to go off on one (or several) of my famous tangents to make my point here so I hope you'll follow along. If you get lost along the way, my apologies. I think that this begins with the kind of person you are. For me, making these kinds of decisions come easy, because I make all of my decisions from a principle centered core. Those of you who have read the 7 habits of highly effective people will know precisely what I mean. If you haven’t read this book and are now reading this post - you’re all out of excuses; READ THE BOOK - its a life changer. I find this is what separates those with a plan and a strategy with those who are just putting out fires all the time; those who are reactive vs proactive. Personally, loyalty and ethics are the two major principles I look to when making a marketing decision. As Jared says, it is just aggressive marketing. But in this area more than any other, the gray area often obscures the lines we might not normally cross and it is for this reason that it is important to have a principled center when making these kinds of aggressive decisions. Is what you are doing fair play? Will what you are doing cause harm or damage the consumer or your competitions brand? Will your initiative mislead or misrepresent? There are plenty of examples out there of people answering yes to these questions and still proceeding forward. But if you can answer no to these questions and the only adversity you’ll face is your competitions disdain for being slow to the game or lacking the foresight to start such an initiative, then it should only strengthen your resolve for such an initiative. The post that inspired this thread criticizes the use of “facebook spam” to drive fans to business fan pages. But you have to ask yourself what actually makes something spam in the first place? Don’t we call every unsolicited piece of marketing spam today? We’ve become so cavalier with the term that this is what its definition has become. So by this standard, one could argue that virtually ALL of the marketing we are exposed to every day is spam and therefore, bad! Well roll up the sidewalk and stop doing all that bad marketing folks! You might offend someone! We’ve become accustomed to certain kinds of spam and we accept those: Junk mail, pop-ups, e-mail spam, etc. Even the ads we are exposed to on our television are technically spam! Think about it, a television commercial interrupts what you actually want to be doing by showing you mostly things you would have no interest in... until you do. Right? Something becomes relevant to you and at that moment ceases to be spam. How many late night dollar menu double cheese burgers have been sold by those annoying McDonalds commercials? How many people have a shamwow or mighty putty or a showtime rotisserie as a result of TV spam? We expect it and its in the expecting that makes us forget that its spam. I know we probably long for a place that is free from spam, but we’re really unwilling to make the choice to be part of communities that are free from spam because we would have to pay for them. Remember its the spam that allows us free access to virtually anything and everything. Why is Google free to use? Because of adwords. Why are yahoo and hotmail, etc free? Because of banner ads and skyscrapers and “approved” spam. Why will facebook continue to be free? Because of facebook games (the hidden spam) and apps and facebook ads...spam! We’re only offended because we’re not used to it. But thats where the opportunity is! Think about it! All the spam we’re used to now, mostly has too low a conversion to be worth using anymore. Its the new frontiers that are effective. Those of us who are pioneers at pushing something before anyone else; before the masses realize they’re being marketed to. Thats why http://www.facebook.com/Marlboro.Nissan has just shy of 6,000 fans; why http://www.facebook.com/Framingham.Nissan.Dealer.MA has over 3,000 fans; why http://www.facebook.com/Auburn.Nissan.Dealer.MA has over 3,000 fans; why http://www.facebook.com/Boston.Nissan.Dealer.MA has acquired over 2,000 fans in just 2 weeks; WHY IT MAKES GOOD BUSINESS SENSE to be first to the party in what has been clearly identified as the next most important interactive medium - facebook. I don’t think any of us can afford to look down are noses at something that can bring a 5,000% ROI - which has been my experience with Marlboro Nissan’s Facebook initiative in 2010. If finding a successful marketing strategy means someone is going to call you a name (facebook whore) then I guess you’ll just have to act like an adult and think for yourself. My experience has been that people who attack things they don’t understand do so because they’re afraid of it or because of their ignorance to its value. I offer fan population and page design to forward thinking dealers who don’t just want a rush of fans they will do nothing with, but are committed to learning social media and proper engagement techniques. I also offer this service direct to vendors: Consultants, Web providers, etc. You may already be doing business with a company that offers my service to you. There is no magic bullet folks. We’re always chasing the latest greatest toy. Right now I’m the kid with the shiny new toy and I’m offering it to anyone who wants to play. But if you’re not already doing the basics right, the new toy is only going to expose those weaknesses to a greater number of people. But if your business is dialed in. If you are committed to a customer centric business philosophy and continually strive to implement forward thinking and best practices, this is an area that can bring additional opportunity to stay connected to your customers and penetrate your competitors markets. I’ll leave you to form your own opinion - hopefully you will base it on experience not on the prejudices of people with no fact.
Richard Valenta
Damn theaters. They are always spamming me with trailers I do want to see. I mean you drop down $15 on a movie you want to see and then you are bombarded for 10 minutes with trailers of movies you don't care for. I am sick of movie theater spam.
Jared Hamilton
@Richard - Fair question. Perhaps im using the term too loosely, but im believe to be good at social media you have to determine your audience, connect with your audience and the key is to share QUALITY content that the audience wants. Social media "experts" will be quick to rag on dealers for blasting inventory & specials on twitter, but often have no problem blasting their social media services all over twitter. Its a double standard. Again, I believe its about quality content, so I think you can be spammed by friending someone then being bombarded with no quality content, just "call to action, call to action, call to action...etc" For example I friended on person, then within a week they sent me over 30 requests to "like" various products (including their competitor's stores... ive got a whole post on this experience ill publish next week). Yes I can unfriend, but I was still blasted with crap in the meantime. So, perhaps im using the term too loose, but I think you can get blasted with soc media spam even though you can unfriend. Make sense? What do you think?
Timothy Martell
Jared said, "Sometimes I think this is one of those situations where, "if you cant beat them, join them." but then I look inside and I always go back to what I believe in my heart, and I cant stand social media spam, so I avoid it." What is there to beat? I don't like sweets. Cake, candy, ice-cream... I know sounds crazy, right? Especially coming from someone so "in-shape" (round IS a shape)! I prefer my 20+oz steaks. I don't really care for snow or cold weather either and yet, I've lived in New England for 24 years. Oh and I may not have mentioned it, but I hate being marketed TO. Yup, I said it. The MARKETING DIRECTOR for a dealer group HATES having to deal with being on the receiving end of marketing. I LOATHE all of the ridiculous waste of coming home every day to a mailbox overflowing with junk mail and maybe one or two pieces of mail that I actually need or want. I HATE television commercials (except during the superbowl). It amazes me some of the crap people will spend thousands, even millions of dollars coming up with. The idea that someone got paid to come up with some of the worst ideas astounds me. THANK THE LORD for the DVR! There are very few things I will actually watch on live tv anymore. I sift through nearly 1,000 e-mails a day not counting the crap my spam filter actually saves me from. As someone who is actively pursuing an aggressive marketing strategy on Facebook, I also get 20+ page suggestions a day that I have absolutely no interest in whatsoever. And you know what I HATE, LOATHE, DESPISE AND DETEST EVERY LAST BIT OF IT! I suppose though, if I went to my superiors and said, "You know, there are some people out there who really hate all of these various types of marketing. I think we should just rely on word of mouth and our reputation to generate business and stop marketing altogether...”; once they finished laughing at me, they would likely have ads placed for a new Marketing Director. Let's try and keep thing in perspective here folks. We're not talking about our personal lives here. I might not like Silver colored cars, that doesn't mean I'm going to ignore the fact that it is the most popular selling color car and refuse to order them because of my personal tastes. I am actually beginning to feel silly for making an argument about something that, the more I think about it, seems like it may not even be worth addressing. We're here to learn how to be effective at selling our products. We're talking about advertising. The whole point in being part of social communities like this is to learn about new ways to enhance your marketing strategy. Not on how to avoid those new successful endeavors. Am I missing something? Is this Driving Sales or Driving Miss Daisy? So I hope you get a laugh at my typical sarcasm. But I think a very important key factor has been lost here. This is our business. We are here to learn to make good business decisions for our companies. If thats not why we're here, then we are wasting our own time and that of our employers. Let's keep our eyes on the prize.

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