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Professionalism in Marketing Campaigns

October 13th, 2007

In one of the few free offerings at Constant Content that has not been duplicated on other sites, this article by Christina McAllister reminds us that we should strive to maintain a sense of professionalism in our marketing endeavors and avoid the trap of becoming too personal with our potential customers.


Many marketing books and gurus repeat a similar message: Get personal! Build relationships with your customers! Get to know your customers and let them get to know you!

Great advice. But there’s a fine line between relationship building and getting a little too personal.

In the past several weeks, our household received many pieces of direct mail regarding political candidates, their platforms and reminders to vote in the primary election. Many of these pieces were informative. But a few pieces were a little too intimate to be tasteful and productive forms of marketing.

Both were “written” by the candidates’ wives. One was an oversized postcard. It was colorful. It was glossy. There was a cute (and very un-political-like) photo of the wife and the family dog.

And then there was the wife’s message. She mentioned marriage struggles and a battle with cancer. The first several sentences were downers and the positive statements at the end of the woman’s note were not quite strong enough to counteract the damage done from the start. The second piece was a letter. It was a handwritten and duplicated copy of a letter. It was an invitation to an open house reception. She should have just kept it as that. But she didn’t.

The letter veered off course as she “confessed” that her husband’s political involvement brought along with it sacrifice and difficulty. She also warned of possible last minute personal attacks.

The level of intimacy these two women brought forth by allowing pieces such as these to get mailed out was unsettling. How could discussing marriage struggles possibly help these candidates? And why mention possible personal attacks? These two pieces actually raise more questions in the readers’ minds than they answer. Remember that as you strive to build a common bond between yourself and the customer, you need to remain professional at ALL times. You can come across as warm and sincere, but there is no need to degenerate into a false intimacy. Doing so might bring about more talk about you and your company around the water cooler, but it won’t result in more sales.



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