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Lesson For Marketers: Respect Your Prspect’s Intelligence

One of the points I make repeatedly in Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First is to respect your prospect’s intelligence–and with good reason. To succeed in business, you need long-term relationships. And you don’t get them by insulting people. I could list bad-practice examples from now until the end of time. Every once in a while, I find one that just pisses me off because it seems to shout, “Hey, Stupid! Send us money!” The one that landed in my postal mailbox yesterday was one of them.

One of the points I make repeatedly in Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First is to respect your prospect’s intelligence–and with good reason. To succeed in business, you need long-term relationships. And you don’t get them by insulting people.

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I could list bad-practice examples from now until the end of time.
Every once in a while, I find one that just pisses me off because it
seems to shout, “Hey, Stupid! Send us money!” The one that landed in my
postal mailbox yesterday was one of them.

It was a plain, typed envelope–with a sprayed barcode and a
nonprofit bulkrate stamp. No return address. Yeah, I opened it–after
all, Google’s AdSense checks can’t be identified from the outside.

Inside, a post-it with this text in a very UNconvincing handwriting font:

Shel,
have you
seen this?
Brian

Yes, three lines of text all lined up, and the name about under the question mark.

The sticky note was attached to (and amazingly precisely lined up
with) a piece of newsprint. The front had an ad for a charity I’ve
heard of but don’t contribute to. The back was a fake news story about
the same charity.

No clue about who Brian might be, except that the fake article mentions the CEO’s first name happens to be Brian.

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So just how stupid does this charity think I am? Am I supposed to be
fooled into thinking this is from someone I actually know? That despite
the bulk stamp and barcode, I was individually selected? Does a “news
story” with no byline, no identifier about the paper it might have ran
in? Or that the article and the ad just happened to be back-to-back and
fit perfectly with no wasted space? Puh-leeze! Stopping only to be
humiliated in this blog post, this mailing goes straight to the recycle
bin.

Why, after all these years, do marketers continue to write, design,
and distribute this crap? Do they really think we’re going to be
fooled? Do they actually want dumb-as-a-slug contributors or customers
who won’t ask embarrassing questions?