Recently I wrote an article for the 2007 Direct Marketing News' Essential Guide to Lists, Database Marketing and Data Services. The article was about how the Web 2.0 phenomenon was changing how companies interacted with their customers and prospects. It was a short article that only touched at the surface of changes, but it was pretty well received. I received a couple of nice emails from folks who read it and thought it was interesting. And then I got this email from someone who basically wanted me to hire them to do public relations work.
I really have no problem with this, as I use this strategy from time to time if I run across something that makes sense for me to approach. And when I do this, I try to make sure up front that I make a positive statement about whatever it is they wrote about, spoke about or presented on. It shows that I've at least did a little homework and paid some attention to what they did. This just makes good sense....and I'm not even in public relations. So here's what I get from the PR person who wants me to hire them based off of the contact he's initiating with this email.....
Seeing your article in the DM News Guide to Lists & Database Marketing, I wanted to drop you a line and introduce myself. As a public relations consultant specializing in the database marketing & CRM space, I deal with marketing services and numerous industry publications every day. As a matter of fact, I helped create and placed two articles in the same Guide in which your article appeared.
This was the opening paragraph. You don't need to see the rest and I didn't either as I pretty much stopped reading after that. Well typically that would have been it for me but I did check the rest of the email just to see if my assumption was correct. And it was. This person only talked about themselves and what they've done in the past. What set me off in the first place was how it was pretty apparent to me that this person didn't even take the time to read my article. He "saw" it, but he definitely didn't read it. If he had, and if he really wanted my business, don't you think he would have complimented me before going full bore into his sales pitch? My co-host Michael Thomas refers to this as the "nice tie" approach, where you find something to compliment your intended target on before hitting them up. This person, who claims to be a public relations specialist, didn't even give me a nice tie before singing their own praises (and anyone who knows me knows I could really use a nice tie). Needless to say, I didn't reply to the email. In fact I'd probably hire Terrell Owens' old PR lady before hiring this person, and we know what kind of job she did under fire.
It reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where George asks Jerry to act like his former employer and be a reference for the job he's going for as a latex salesman. George has the company call Jerry's house, but instead of Jerry answering the phone Kramer does and totally screws it up for George. George, in the bathroom, here's Kramer messing it up and comes tearing out of the bathroom with his pants down around his ankles, then falls face first right at Jerry's feet. Jerry looks at George, and says those famous words...."and you want to be my latex salesman......" And this person what to be my public relations consultant.......
To me, it's just another tragic case of customer relationship mis-management. Please learn from this before sending that next email out. And also learn how to say and spell "Nice Tie!"