Just like misbehaving third graders on a field trip, there are always going to be people in any profession who give the rest of us a bad name and cause the bus to turn around and go back to school. And in integrated marketing, the perceived bad seeds are often public relations (ouch) and sales. Unfortunately, there’s a reason some stereotypes contain truths: because there are those who live up to them.
On Friday morning, I got a call from a magazine ad salesperson. He didn’t leave a voicemail, but he e-mailed me later, pitching his publication and letting me know he’d be in town today. I didn’t respond, for a few reasons: it was Friday, my mind was on other projects, and I mentally filed the note away because, based on what little I knew about the publication, it didn’t sound too appealing for our target audience.
This morning I received another call, and when I didn’t answer, he left a voicemail, reiterating what he said in his e-mail. A few hours later, I begin receiving more calls: four in a 23-minute period, to be exact.
It was then I realized that he was probably going to come to my office, unsolicited. And he did. I’m not sure how well I hid my dissatisfaction.
I should have called or e-mailed him back to let him know that while I appreciated his initiative, we weren’t interested, but please leave your material for us to explore. This situation might have been averted.
However, an unsolicited visit to anyone’s office after persistently calling is no way to build a relationship with a potential client. In fact, I was a little surprised he actually did it, given that advertising and marketing isn’t about the product anymore, it’s about the consumer. Let’s liken the situation to a television ad: if the consumer isn’t interested, she changes the channel, fast forwards through it, mutes it, or turns it off. The commercial doesn’t force its way into her mind; that kind of interruption marketing doesn’t work anyway, and the smart marketers know this.
Apparently my salesperson doesn’t.