Friday, July 18, 2008

As a marketer, am I breaking the Golden Rule?

At Albeo, I'm planning to start a direct marketing campaign that will include direct mail and telemarketing, and possibly some email. Why? Because direct marketing works, and that's my job.

It raises a personal question, however. Since I don't enjoy receiving direct mail or telemarketing calls, am I planning on breaking the Golden Rule by doing unto others what I don't want done to myself?

I get annoyed with all the credit card mailings I receive. I don't like telemarketers any more than anyone else, and always hang up on them. But I also recognize that annoying marketing can be effective marketing.

For instance, as I have been watching the Tour de France on Versus Network this week, there's a Saab commercial that has run several times on each episode. (You can see the commercial here.) It's very annoying because it is very sparsely narrated, but repeats the same line three times:

"For the perfect balance of fuel efficiency and performance, we take energy from exhaust and recycle it.

For the perfect balance of fuel efficiency and performance, we take energy from exhaust and recycle it.

For the perfect balance of fuel efficiency and performance, we take energy from exhaust and recycle it.

Turning repetition into joy. The efficient performance of the Saab Turbo."

The repetition of the main line and the repeated airings of the commercial mean that that line is seared into my brain. Yes, I get it, the turbo provides a mix of fuel efficiency and performance.

It is amazingly annoying. On the other hand, as I pointed out, that line is seared into my brain, which means the marketers did their job. (Of course, there's a point at which they could move beyond message recognition into negative feelings.)

I guess my bottom line is that I recognize that some marketing tools can be annoying, but they're effective, and that's why I'm OK with breaking the Golden Rule.
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