Let’s Get Real, Marketers

stocksnap_rhcve50ejrContent Marketing World laid down some serious knowledge bombs that I’m putting to use immediately. I promise a full wrap-up soon, but one particular such bomb hit me hard. Mathew Sweezey (of “Marketing Automation for Dummies” fame) was, by far, my favorite session.

In the middle of a million tasty bits of advice, Mathew asked the question, “How many of you send an email to a friend or co-worker that is beautifully designed HTML?” Needless to say, no one raised their hand to that little query. So, why do we marketers send these things expecting responses?

Mathew explained that when we all look at our inbox, we don’t preview each one and decide if we’re going to read it. We scan our subject lines, delete with a fury, and then process from there. I work in financial services (insurance to be exact, try not to be jealous) and we are quite guilty of this gaffe.

When trying to retain customers, what will be more effective…a templated, branded email with perfect Shutterstock models or one that simply says, in plain text, “Joe, I noticed your policy is about to renew. There are some other options that are available since you purchased that might be a better fit and more economical. My contact information is below in case you’d like to have a chat.” Which is more real and authentic?

I noticed this principle in action in a very different environment last night. I have a confession to make. I’m a resale junkie. I can’t help myself. There’s nothing better than getting a great deal on things people barely used.

I belong to a Facebook garage sale group (okay, FINE, I belong to several of them). Most posts show pictures and explain details, including pricing. Last night, the following was posted: “I have a bakers rack, entertainment center, 3black and Decker weedeaters(need spokes and the piece to hold spools on), 6ft ladder, 20ft ladder, rakes, shovels, 2 folding camp chairs, doll crib, ride along alphabet train, step 2 kitchen, men’s northface coat, men’s under armour coat, ski masks, patio table and 2chairs and a pressure washer(needs a new wand). For sale. Let me know what everyone is interested in.”

The marketer in me was horrified. In my mind, I said, “You idiot! Nothing about pricing. No pictures. Who the heck is going to respond to you?” Yeah. So, 35 people have so far. As it turns out, curiosity took over and people wanted to find out more. And isn’t that exactly the difference between that fully-formed, beautifully designed email and the plain text version?

I hope this knowledge bomb smacks you in the face like it did for me. Let’s all go out there and get real.