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Thursday, June 19, 2008

A not-so-warm introduction

Last evening, I received this email.

Mark Buckshon,

A colleague suggested I check out your website (constructionmarketingideas) with a view to buying advertising in one of your publications. I did so, even though I consider the one newspaper I have seen from your company to be a mess.

This is what I found on your website: Boring and banal, or stable and secure?

Let me answer that for you: Boring and banal.
The individual signed his note, and his email is from a yahoo address. But I had never heard of his name or company -- although he identified his city within our service area. I couldn't find any sign of his business either with a Google search, or within the major association directories. At least from what I can see, he is running an invisible business.

So I responded:

Maybe you are right. I can’t judge myself. A quick Google search didn’t provide any entries for “(Name of individual) Construction” in Toronto, so it is hard for me to draw any conclusions.

I don’t recommend anyone rush to buy advertising anywhere – including my own publications. The most important thing is to build and develop relationships (and we sell a lot of advertising to businesses wishing to do just that). Then we seek to ensure our advertisers get real value ongoing. That generates repeat business, and that is the way it should be. If colleagues are referring you (and others) to my site, then indeed our strategy is working. If you want us to help you find more business, we’ll be glad to work with you. And if you can suggest improvements in our methodologies, I’ll be happy to listen.

I’ll post your comment in my blog (obviously removing your identity unless you give permission.)

Mark Buckshon
Construction News and Report Group of Companies
1 Cleopatra Dr. Suite 202
Ottawa, Ontario K2G 3W9
888-432-3555 ext 224
Now, while I respect every one's right to their own opinion, this email leaves me wondering some things:

  • Is it helpful, ever, to 'meet' someone new with such a warm and fuzzy introduction? Does it help to build relationships, attract new clients, or otherwise help your business grow?
  • Maybe the sender has some really serious marketing issues -- if he is really in business, why can't I find him anywhere when I look using the simplest search techniques? Heck, putting some information on the signature line of the email doesn't take much effort, does it?

  • If one of his colleagues referred him to me, then maybe this is actually a sign that our marketing is working the way it is supposed to work -- generating word-of-mouth communication. Maybe his colleague thought he could use some help in marketing, and saw this blog as a useful resource.
Of course, maybe he is right. In that case, I am glad I am not telemarketing or canvassing him -- if he responds this way by visiting my blog after a referral, imagine how he would feel if I intruded into his own space.


Anonymous said...

I find it difficult to believe that Mark Buckshon has solicited ads in the way described by the author of the complaint. Mark has never solicited an ad or anything else from me, though he has been so helpful to me that I have asked him on several occasions what I could do for him. I have not the slightest doubt that he operates in the way he describes in this posting. It fits exactly with my experience with him--honorable and taking the long view.

Ford Harding

Construction Marketing Ideas said...

Ford, thanks for your kind comment. The person I am exchanging emails with may just be trying to egg me on -- but I think readers of this blog will learn something useful from the dialogue.

The greats in marketing (and you are one of them) get to where they are by giving rather than taking -- this does not deny your being paid fairly and well for your work, of course.