By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
Last month, I wrote about one of the more expensive marketing scams – vanity trade magazine offers by unknown industry publishers that promote glossy publications that none of your target market will ever see (unless you hand them one of your own copies).
This month, let’s review another common pitch that sounds good at first blush, but turns out to be “too good to be true.”
Third-party mailing lists
You’ve surely seen initially-compelling email list pitches like this one that turned up in my email INBOX:
“Would you be interested to acquire an opt-in emails list of Fleet Management Industry Decision Makers? We have a list with Verified emails and precise details of Energy & Utility Industry Decision Makers across the Globe. Our List consists of: Company Name, Contact Name (First Name, Middle Name, Last Name), Contact Job Title, verified email addresses, Company URL, Mailing address, Phone number, Fax Number, Revenue size, Employees Size, Technology Type, Industry Type, Industry Descriptions and other relevant information.”
So, what’s wrong? First, fleet industry service providers and OEMs know that ours is a comparatively narrow market even — taking into account other stakeholders/decision-makers beyond fleet managers. One must question any list provider’s ability to uncover new contacts that you haven’t already collected through sales contacts, industry networking, NAFA, AFLA, RIMS, ISM or other association connections. Speaking of associations, run away from email lists for “conference attendees” that don’t emanate from the pertinent trade association.
‘Opt-in’ Isn’t Enough
Many rented or purchased list providers promote “totally opt-in” names, meaning the people on the list opted in to an email communication from someone at some point in time — like the list provider, for example. What it doesn’t mean is that they opted in to receive email communications from your business. In fact, the only opt-in list you can confidently use is the one you generated by your company, for your company!
If you have ever attempted to use rented or purchased lists with reputable email marketing vendors, you know that they won’t let you send emails to lists you’ve bought. Yes, there are mail firms that don’t require customers to use opt-in email lists, but deliverability is poor. Just remember: good email address lists aren’t available from any company other than the direct source. In our market, it is always best to go directly to the trade associations.
Your Company’s Reputation Is at Stake
Just think about how you react when you get an email in your inbox from a company you’ve never heard of or don’t currently deal with? Chances are you will not appreciate the annoyance of unsolicited sales pitch. So, it’s always your job to prove to email recipients — through helpful content and valuable offers — that they should stay connected with your company via email. However, if you force your email content on anyone too early, you risk preemptively losing their trust and their future business.
Next month, we will continue to look at some other marketing scams. As always, I welcome feedback, questions, suggestions, experiences and differing points of view from fleet product and service providers as well as from fleet managers, corporate buyers, consultants, trade association and media representatives. Just send an email to EdPierce@ITAcommunications.com