Do you ever find yourself saying this in the workplace?

“I need to go after 25 to 35 year-old females.”

Just for fun, say that in a crowded public place out loud. Creepy, right? And yet that’s what we’ve been taught to do – “go after” a particular product or type of member.

By believing that’s the only way to market, we’ve created this:

1. A federal law against marketing. The National “Do Not Call” registry was created NOT because people were making prank phone calls – “Do you have Prince Albert in can?” No, a federal law was passed against marketing. Tele marketing, aka annoying marketing.
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2. TiVo and DVRs were created so you could finally watch your shows in peace – without marketing.

3. iPods give us the ability to drive, walk, ride, anywhere with only our music – no annoying radio advertisements (marketing).

4. And finally – 10 years ago, did you own a shredder in your home? Why do you have one now? Not only for “privacy” but it feels good to shred marketing, right? How many of you are considering buying a BIGGER shredder?

I call these old techniques “Stalker Marketing”. And when I googled the word stalker, I got this: According to the April 2001 issue of Psychiatric Times:

“Stalking” is defined as repeated and persistent unwanted communications and/or approaches …….. The stalker may use such means as telephone calls, letters, e-mail, graffiti and placing notices in the media.”

Wow.

That’s why marketing today has to feel like dating. You don’t “go after” someone when you’re interested in them. You take the time to learn about them. You make yourself attractive to them. On a first date, we all talk about pretty normal things looking for a common bond. “Oh, you like Battlestar Gallactica too?” Because that common bond makes it easier for us to build a relationship.

Common bond is a very powerful marketing tool.

Relationships are work. Pushing products is easy.

Relationships take time to build. Campaigns are over in a month.

Relationships evolve over time, and we have to pay attention to them.

Checking accounts are free – and free is fun to put on a brochure. In fact, I recently saw someone touting that their checking account was the “free-ist!”

We need new tools in our marketing toolbox today. And one of the most effective and cheapest marketing tools is word of mouth. To begin to cultivate relationships, we need to change the way we speak.

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Let’s all practice “building relationships” again and leave the stalking to Hollywood.

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