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Is Marketing the New Creepy Stalker?
June 10, 2014
With so many technologies in place to track a buyers browsing habits, assets downloaded, visits repeated, and follow them literally just about anywhere on the Internet, how does marketing succeed in simply providing personalized content, rather than coming across as just plain creepy?
You know - creepy. As in "I know so much about you and I've been watching you for awhile. I watch you when you surf on the Internet. I know your favorite web pages and how you like to visit only in the afternoons..." (insert heavy breathing...)
Ok - the heavy breathing is a bit much, but you get the idea.
Marketing, generally, falls into two types of stalkers:
The Paranoid - In short, these stalkers are delusional and every action is distorted to feed their delusion. The marketing paranoid is the one that takes nearly every action as a really great lead for sales. If you haven't talked with your Sales team and defined what's a lead to them, your paranoid.
The Psychopath - these are calculating machine, out to do anything for their personal gratification. The marketing psychopath is the constant emailer, telling the buyer about how great their solution or product is and how they really need it. Hearing from your customers "You email me too much"? You're a psychopath.
There's a proper balance here that needs to be maintained. Much like a relationship in the real world, the buyer-vendor relationship will only grow if both sides are comfortable. We all know all the folks in marketing and sales are plenty comfortable asking "Wanna Buy?" but the buyer may not be.
Thus, creepy. Here are a few tips:
Think of the data you get about your buyer as one-half of a conversation - those web visits, whitepapers downloaded, etc.? Those are the buyer telling you I'm interested this much (and this much only) in this product of yours.
Think of your response as the other half of the conversation - your response should be measured based on their actions. If they download a whitepaper on the need to backup to the cloud? Your response should be nothing more than acknowledging their interest and offering a few more details. You just "met" them - don't go asking if they want to get married.
You need lots of content to continue this process - As long as the buyer wishes to stay on the outer fringes of your marketing efforts by reading a blog here and downloading a whitepaper there, you're going to need a lot of content to both continually engage them, and then corresponding content to continue the conversation - both to move them forward towards a purchase, but also to just meet them where they are and be a source of good information for them.
Not every buyer is in the same place - Ask a sales rep about whitepaper downloads they call. They'll tell you they get everything from a buyer looking to build a shortlist, to a college student who is doing research. It's marketing's job to identify those that are either truly interested or, at very least, willing to move forward from where they are now. This means, again, a focus on content - some to move the buyer down the funnel and some to just keep them understanding your company even exists.
Pay attention to what your buyers are actually "saying" and provide an appropriate response (in the form of content) and you will find your company having a conversation, building a relationship and, hopefully seeing the buyer turn into a customer.