Wednesday, August 24, 2005

It's All About Control

"If you feel you're in control, you do a lot better," says one researcher.

That was a quote in a Wall Street Journal article, "The Secrets of Successful Aging," that was published June 20th. What the research showed was that the rat who had a lever to press to avoid receiving mild shocks experienced a lower level of stress hormone...even though the lever was non-functioning.

Again, it's all in your mind! Stress is easier to cope with and produces fewer physcial effects (regardless of age) if you feel a sense of control. Being able to take lunch when you're hungry or choose the projects you want to work on contribute to a longer, healthier life.

Information can relieve stress. If you know what's to expect, what's on the horizon, you are better able to handle challenges, e.g. speaking in front of 500 people, presenting to a huge new prosepctive client, giving birth, knowing when you will next eat.

Information bestows power that extends your life, both physically and professionally. Knowing your customers, developing genuine relationships, being able to anticipate what they need and want, gathering accurate information ahead of a potentially stressful situation all contribute to a smoother-running business.

Identifying, implementing, and, most importantly, using business relationship management tools help you better connect with your customers, both outside and inside the company, and track exactly where you stand. Knowing that lets you manage the relationship more successfully. This puts you in control...of your day, of your business,...of your bottom line.

That's what PLI does. We work with you to get things under control. We're stress relievers.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mother, May I...?

Remember that childhood game? It is kind of a variation on “Simon Says”, where you have to be given permission before executing the command of the “Mother” in the game. Sometimes, “Mother” would tell you to take three giant steps and then, change “her” mind when you asked, “Mother, may I?”, and switch it to four baby steps. Maybe it was specific to the South where I grew up. You’ll have to tell me.

Email is very much like that game. It’s all about permission and the permissions granted are very specific. Permission-based email marketing and communication is not limited to those “blasts” to thousands or millions. It’s also about one-to-one business communications.

In the last week, I’ve gotten email from two different sources, seemingly out of the blue. The first was from a woman I’d met at some long forgotten networking event whose husband wanted to sell his tickets to the finals of the U.S. Open coming up later this month here in New York. The second was from a guy whose company has a database of people they’d invited to a few business cocktail parties last year. I hadn’t heard from them in more than a year and here he was announcing that his wife is a real estate agent now.

When I replied to the first asking for information on how “she” knew me, I received a reply from the husband who was using her email address. He actually got huffy!

Both of these emails are real spam. The email addresses were not used for the purpose intended. The recipients had not requested this information. The From and Subject lines were misleading. There were no physical mailing addresses included. And, finally, no clear directions on how to remove oneself from future emails.

It takes very little to land yourself on blacklists these days. Your company website may be shut down. Your emails don’t go through. It takes days and sometimes weeks to undo the damage. But, that’s technology.

The collateral damage of ruined business relationships is something that can rarely be undone. If both had just taken a few minutes and a few more lines to explain how we know each other and why they were sending the email on behalf of their spouses, it would make all the difference in the world. Instead of being viewed as completely unprofessional, these emails could have demonstrated how supportive they are and also offer an opportunity to re-introduce themselves and what they do.

There was no “Thank you, ma’am” part of the equation in this case!

Technology does not cancel out the tried and true rules for polite engagement. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us here at PLI.

Reports of the Demise of Email...

Ever since I saw my first email in early 1992, I have remained convinced that email is the 800-pound gorilla of the Internet. Despite periodic claims that email is dead or dying, as in email marketing, everything continues to point to the evergreen status of email.

The nay-sayers say that people are moving away from email for newer technologies, like RSS feeds, or are dropping email from their daily routines because of the trials and tribulations of spam, viruses, etc.

A couple of weeks ago I railed against the well-intentioned, but misguided spam busters who make our lives miserable with their scatter shot blocking methods. This is certainly not meant to ignore the impact of the effects of attacks on corporate mail systems and the Internet at large. However, let’s not ignore some realities of email, spam, and how employees manage their time in the workplace.

Here’s how it really is:

• A recent study released by eMarketer found that 56% of those surveyed estimated they received fewer than 10 spam emails daily.

• Over 10% of all the respondents report that they purchase products and services from spam e-mails.

• Another recent study found that employees waste, on average, a little more than 2 hours daily of company time online in personal pursuits. The majority of that time is spent online and on personal email.

By the way, yet another poll found that fewer than 15% of respondents even know what an RSS feed is. I think many of us get caught up in the excitement of early adoption and forget that we are not representative of the general population of users out there.

All in all, these recent studies are extremely reassuring and affirm that our investment in email marketing is not misplaced. What’s even more exciting is that we are fast approaching the holiday season and if this year continues the trend of last year, online shopping will be even more brisk. In the silver lining category, record high gas prices will be an even greater incentive to shop online and this is all very,very good for all those companies associated with email marketing.

Now, the only problems are delivering projects on time from all the business we’re seeing and keeping tabs on your employees to make sure they’re working on the clients’ email campaigns and not putting in for overtime after spending two hours per day on personal email and online shopping!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

What's Gonzo Anyway?

Hunter Thompson, Christopher Locke, and Fear and Loathing in the Marketplace

Gonzo involves passionate engagement, not detachment. It means getting to know the people to whom you are marketing -- literally talking to them (or at least exchanging e-mail).from: Get personal to market on Web by Bruce Rosenstein
source: USA Today, 10 December 2001

The above is a quote that was used to describe Christopher Locke's book, Gonzo Marketing. I think it also is a pretty good description of Chris Locke, one of the authors of Cluetrain Manifesto.

The entire book is still available, as it has been since 1999, to read online at Take a few minutes and read the 99 theses...maybe, again. The first thesis is "Markets are conversations." If you don't get past that, that's okay. Everything else follows that.

The good news is that you don't have to wait for a book. Christopher Locke in all his "glory" publishes on a nearly daily basis in his new role of Chief Blogging Officer. ( Admittedly, I don't read everything every day.

He's prolific...fascinating...far-ranging...obsessive...psychotic...brilliant...addictive.

Anyway,he commented the other day that he was receiving a lot of condolence emails in the wake of Hunter Thompson's death. Very fitting. Chris is gonzo. Check him out. Scroll down to the 2.21.05 entry to read about the gonzo connection.

Anyway, about the fear and loathing part. Seems like that's the way a lot of people approach the customer out in the marketplace. Fearful that s/he' s gonna say no. Maybe even loathing selling. Is that why there's so many "marketers" and so few "sales people"? It's almost like nobody wants to get in the trenches and get dirty doing the actual selling. But, how can you really know your customer if you don't engage him, actually listen to his responses, getting personal? Getting personal is what it's all about, forging that relationship and building on it over time. All good things come from getting up close and personal with your current customers and future customers. Ask them what they like, what they don't like, what they'd change, and, last but not least, who they know who'd appreciate working with you. Can't get those priceless referrals and endorsements if you don't get personal.

Saw this quote this morning and I've been thinking about it all day.

Quote of the day:

"Argue for your limitations and sure enough they're yours." -- Richard Bach

February 24. 2005