HubSpot Plays Cupid with ‘Make Love Not Spam’ CampaignWritten by Malcolm James on February 19, 2013
Marketers get a bad rap. I don’t mind admitting that, in my case, it goes doubly so. As an ex-marketing professional, I tend to be ruthless in my opinion of marketers, especially in this age of spam. I know what’s involved in marketing and how far-removed it can be from reality. Often, it’s used with the precision of a rocket launcher, and unfortunately, some marketing people forget that the ultimate goal is to leave people with a smile, and not a frown. Let’s face it: the numbers don’t lie. Marketers make up for a large chunk of the vile stuff that invades our inboxes each day. In a world where the message is king, it seems that there are far too many would-be usurpers to the throne, and that, friends, is what results in civil unrest.
And they’re not helping themselves. When we see articles like “Eight Simple Rules to Evade the SPAM Filter”, it purveys a real sense of just how disparate is the rift between the people tasked with the duty of delivering the message (the marketers) and the people who are meant to receive the message (the rest of us). To think that the ultimate goal of marketing is to land unwanted messages in the inbox rather than the spam folder, well…wow. It leaves me speechless, and it reminds me that, just like in all walks of life, there are good marketers and then there are bad marketers. Bad as in incompetent, although there are malevolent marketers out there, too, who care more about clicks than conversions.
So, this week, when I came across a jewel of a message from a marketing professional, I couldn’t help but stop and take it in, and it made me smile. It was a totally different kind of wow. I’m talking about a blog post written by HubSpot.com CMO Mike Volpe. In the blog post, entitled “An Open Letter to Marketers: Make Love, Not Spam,” Mr. Volpe takes advantage of Valentine’s Day to reach out to marketing professionals:
“In much of the world, today is Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love. But this letter I am sending you is not a love letter. This is an open letter to the marketing community about one big way in which we’re not being lovable.
We, the marketing industry, have a problem with spam.
I don’t mean the messages sent by hackers in a basement from a third-world country about transferring millions of dollars from Nigeria, or how to buy Viagra without a prescription. I mean what many of us marketing folks do as part of our jobs at legitimate companies. Marketers send millions of emails to people without their permission every single day …”
Accompanied by an adorable video that uses some pretty convincing children to put a fine point on the problems surrounding spam and printed matter, Mr. Volpe’s post strikes at the very heart of a problem that we, as IT professionals and end users, have been bemoaning for years. The indiscriminate manner in which many marketers blanket the world with unwanted messages has had exactly the opposite effect for which it was intended.
Companies pay good money to have their products and services elevated to a place where the would-be consumer will see it, want it, and buy it. Unfortunately, we’re not in Kansas anymore. The world of Mad Men in the 1960’s, when there were three television channels, a moderate number of radio stations, and a handful of newspapers and magazines, is a long-dead dream. Today, we’re bombarded with media messages, at the computer, on our phones, in front of the TV, and so-on. Everywhere we look, there’s a new message. Millions of channels, and only so much time in the day to soak up the information. Yes, it makes a marketing person’s life more difficult, but one thing hasn’t changed much since the 1960’s: the consumer. Guaranteed as I’m sitting here, if Walter Cronkite’s future had hit forty years earlier, the consumers of the 1960’s would be just as pissed off by the glut of unwanted information. They just would have looked better doing it, in their cocktail dresses, three piece suits, and fedoras.
Hats off to you, Mr. Volpe. Your message reminded me of why I first got into the marketing business so many years ago. Then, it was fun, exciting, and enlightening. It was empowering to be able to shape people’s opinions and educate. My, how things have changed.
Now, marketing people, are you going to listen to what’s being asked of you, or are you going to perpetuate an out-of-control problem?