On Old School “MEketers” & Marketing Shift


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After a hard day of work, I saddled up to the table last night, delighted.  My husband had prepared a nice dinner for our family. Our dining room has a window facing to the street. As we looked out into the grey, calm evening, we could see children playing and people walking their dogs.  I suddenly noticed a very tall, perky, smiling, canvassing, door-to-door marketer in a green jacket.

Digging in to my lasagna, I said, “Man! Why do they always come around at dinner time?!”  My husband replied “Are you seriously asking that question?”   He was right. I know better.

Feeling uneasy, we began eating.  We watched as the “Perkiteer” reached our next-door, spanish speaking neighbor.  Her visit was predictably short.  She bounded down the driveway and turned for our house with a determined gleam in her eye.

As she passed by our dining room window, she looked directly into the window at us – clearly gathered around our meal.

“You don’t think she’ll actually come to our door now, do you?”  still knowing better.  “Naaaw!” said my husband, sarcastically.   “I’m not answering it!!” I said, knowing I would, anyway.  We heard her feet on the stoop, and the knocking began. Our lab began barking hysterically, and the interruption was complete. I threw down my napkin and said “I’ll handle it.”

I opened the door to her smiling face.  “Hi! I’m KAYLA with TRU GREEN Lawncare and I…”  I interrupted politely, “I’m sorry, Kayla. As you can see, we are in the middle of our dinner.”  Kayla frowned, hopeful “I’m sorry, I just wanted to…”  I interrupted again  “I’m sorry Kayla. We’re in the middle of dinner. This is not a good time for us.  Have a good night.”  Kayla rebounded, fervent in her approach “But, can I just give you a flyer?”  she said, desperately.  I sighed, “Sure, give me a flyer.” She handed me a very large door hanger signed with her name and said to call her if we needed anything. I didn’t thank her. I just said, “Goodbye Kayla.” She went on, undeterred, to knock insistantly at more doors, at dinner time on a Thursday evening.

Staring briefly at the oversized door hanger in my hands, I ripped it into four pieces.  I sat down at the table, bristling. This wasn’t really about Kalya. She was sort of cute and endearing.  It wasn’t that it hasn’t happened before.  My anger stemmed over the fact that this was simply stupid marketing.  It is simply astonishing how many companies do equivocably, the same thing: Irritate people, interrupt family or personal time, spoil dinner and then ask for our money!
“This is not even good marketing” I remarked to my husband, It’s ME keting!”  Together, we worked up a definition of the MEketer:

  • MEketers love interruptive, pushy tactics
  • MEketers are ego-driven, believing people should want to listen, just because they are a brand
  • MEketers are more concerned with delivering messages than building relationships
  • MEketers fail to demonstrate care or regard for people because they view them as a means to an end
  • MEketers often believe success is driven by working “more”  – not working “smarter”
  • MEketers favor tenacity over common sense
  • MEketers love the cookie cutters – They are formulaic marketers – doing everything the same way, every time.

Kayla chose to rudely interrupt us, and TruGreen lost a potential customer. If she’d gently left a door hanger with a personalized note, and returned at a later time, we would have talked with her.  Imagine this greeting

Hi!  I didn’t want to interrupt your nice family dinner!  I’ll come back at another time!  Best, Kayla 

Unfortunately, Kayla had been schooled well in MEketeering.  Sadly, as more doors are slammed in her face, I can see her young optimism and perkiness eroding quickly.  Looking ahead, poor Kayla just may become casualty of lazy, old school training, resigning her green jacket for a fast food uniform.

As I’ve repeatedly mentioned in my blog posts, the old tactics don’t work in the new economy. Marketing has fundamentally shifted:

The companies that really understand this shift will change their tactics to demonstrate genuine care and regard for people, devise out of the box methods for reaching people and building affinity, leverage new channels and tools to bolster service, and close deals by demonstrating respect, value and trustworthiness.

Companies of all shapes and sizes – especially those with a local presence:  Use your noggins!  Be people-centric. Celebrate your customers as they celebrate your products and service.  Get yourself on local, review driven sites like Angie’s List and encourage customers to review your service or products!  Use Facebook to create a solid local network, bound by relationship.  Do something to improve a neighborhood, shout about it online and through traditional media.  Be authentically good!  And, if you go door-to-door, do it with respect and politeness, and in a sensible referral driven manner.  Demonstrate care for people, tell a compelling story and don’t push too hard.  It’s good business, and it’s about time.  You can’t afford NOT to make the shift in this tough economy!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Leigh Durst
Leigh (Duncan) Durst is the principal of Live Path. She is a 19 year veteran in business, operations and customer strategy, ecommerce, digital and social media. As an active consultant, writer, speaker and teacher, she is an advocate for creating remarkable customer experiences that harness digital media and improving business outcomes.


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