Seth Godin is a bit of an expert when it comes to communicating. Â In our first Marketing Mondays post, he taught us how to add frictionÂ back in to emails. Â This is a good thing; it reminds us not to take advantage of the fact that we have easy, immediate access to a broad base of potential customers. Â Anatomy of a CampaignÂ is a reminder that we need to earnÂ the attention of those with whom we wish to speak. Â
The box just said “Scharffen Berger” on the return label.
I opened it up and there was a simple hand-written note. It said, “Seth, have you ever tasted a chocolate bar like this before? Regards, Raymond Major.” His business card was stapled to the note. His title? Senior Staff Scientist.
Attached: exactly one three-ounceÂ chocolate bar, in grey cardboard. The bar itself was wrapped in a waxed-paper like substance, hand folded with a label.
And the chocolate (Tome-Acu 68%) was mind-blowingly good.
Handmade, anticipated and wonderful. From a division of Hershey!
So, what exactly happened here?
- They know me. I met John, the founder, years and years ago, and he gave me a plant tour and the story of his product blew me away.
- I read John’sÂ book.Â He was true and authentic and inspiring.
- I wrote something negative about an engagement with their customer service folks on my blog and they reached out and we had a great conversation on the phone.
- The note they sent was hand written.
- It was from not just a scientist, but from theÂ seniorÂ scientist.
- The chocolate was clearly a limited, special item.
- And, yes, the chocolate was terrific. Better than terrific.
So, you ask, what if I (the marketer) don’t know the blogger or the reporter? What if I don’t have permission? What if they don’t care about me? What if my product is mediocre?
Alas, the answer isn’t good. The answer is: tough. Is this an unreasonable expectation? Lengths too great to have to go to? Well, it’s cheaper than buying an ad on the Super Bowl or even buying shelf space at the Safeway.
The way to win is to make things that tiny (or large!) groups want to talk about, or care about, or engage in. That’s the story that spreads.
PS as I finished writing this, I got a letter in the mail at home from the local Mexican restaurant. They probably purchased the address of every single person in town from a mailing list broker. It’s cheap. Add a stamp and a return address that’s interesting (why are they writing to me) and I’ll open it.
It was a letter apologizing to the town for how lousy the restaurant had been since it opened three months ago and how hard they were working to fix it and how much they appreciated everyone’s feedback. It had a real name at the bottom, a phone number and a $10 gift certificate attached. Wow.
I’ve recently been spending time with members, helping them get set up with social media and expressing what I see as the key point in this post: transparency. Â In order to get people to open up to you (open up their time, their attention, their wallets), you need to investÂ yourself in them. Â When you offer advice without the expectation of a sale (maybe your competitor is truly the best fit for their unique situation) or blog about your company, you invite them to get to know you and increase the chance that they will listen when you reallyÂ want them to.