The Dark Ages Persist

They’re still out there. You know who they are. They’ll all around us.

They’re people who still do it the old way. Still live in the dark ages and do it just because. Still do it because it’s too much work to change.

I ran into some of them today. They called me, on my personal iPhone no less. How they got the number I DO NOT know, and they would not tell me. They work for Fidelity Home Mortgage, some shady mortage company in California. They called me to offer some kind of home mortgage deal — the shady kind, of course (it’s a shady company, what’d you expect?). There were no questions about me or my needs or even if it’s okay if they called, they just launched right into a canned, continuous schpiel. My response to that was to ask how they got my number, in which case they didn’t answer but launched into another schpiel. I told them it was on the Do Not Call list and they should change their practices, and they launched into an apology and took my number and assured me it’d be removed.

Let’s count the offenses:
1. Buying telemarketing lists to cold call with no knowledge of the customer they’re calling, OR harvesting numbers from somewhere — one or the other (or possibly both, who knows, they’re shady)
2. Not buying DNC-scrubbed lists, OR not DNC-scrubbing their own list — one or the other
3. Not asking the customer ANY questions about their needs, just monologue-pushing their own product
4. Not offering customers a product customized for them, just some generic schpiel
5. Not even knowing if the customer wants or needs their product, just pushing their product blindly
6. Not engaging customers with knowledgable brand ambassadors — customers hear from a robotic employee reading relentlessly off of a script (not the kind of thing that endears you to anyone — read about how they explain it on their own website)

Benn through this lately? More importantly, know any marketers that still operate this way? Please tell me it’s not you.

Listen, take a good, long look at the way you work if it sounds like what you just read above. It’s a tough economy, but customers don’t settle for subpar treatment just because it’s tough. And when things get better, do you really think customers are going to go back and settle for what it was like before? Think they’re gonna come back to the same old thing?

Are you engaging customers in a dialogue? Do you target your marketing messages based on customer knowledge? Are you innovating your tactics? Are you a thought-leader in social media? Are you reading about what technology is coming next and preparing now to evolve your tactics in the future? Do you talk to customers regularly, not to sell them something but to learn about what makes them tick or keeps them up at night? Are you leveraging content?

Charge ahead and change your ways wherever the answer is “No” above.

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