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Marketing Into The Teeth of a National Tragedy [Archive] - SOWPub Small Business Forums


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Richard Dennis
December 16, 2012, 12:04 AM
I was on the computer Friday just after noon when my wife called to me. She had been watching a cooking show, and they broke in with news of the shooting of 1st graders in Connecticut.

We sat and watched ... both of us crying. Our son died a few years ago, and I could only think of what an awful, awful night all those mothers & fathers, brothers & sisters, grandmothers & grandfathers would be having Friday night ... and for many days and weeks and months and years to come.

It's not just a tragedy. It's a national tragedy. It's riveting. It's 100% incomprehensible, unexplainable, and depressing. It's an event that none of us will ever forget. Ever.

In my own websites, traffic is down 80% since the news broke. And yet ... the normal marketing emails keep coming. Sure, I know, most were pre-programmed into autoresponders. But programming can be changed. And it should be. My impression was, "How can you act like everything is business as usual, like nothing has happened ... when the world has changed?"

Of the several dozen emails I got from marketers, two were not about business. Those 2 guys wanted to talk about the events in Connecticut and their reactions and what we might possibly do for the families of the victims ... and for our own families. They weren't focused on selling me something. They struck exactly the right tone ... as marketers, and as humans.

Gary Halbert said that the worst thing that can happen to a direct mailer is to drop the mailing, and then have some riveting national event occur ... that you will pretty much lose every penny you put into the mailing, because no one will pay any attention to it.

I think that applies to most forms of marketing.

But especially for those sending out marketing emails, when you continue as if nothing has happened, you risk seeming like an insensitive clod AND you risk losing credibility in the eyes of your prospects and customers. IMO, the best marketing strategy is to simply take a break, then pick it back up later. In this case, after the holidays.

Even better ... send out a heartfelt message talking about your reactions to the event. Believe me, I will remember the 2 marketers who sent me a message like that. I'll be much more inclined to trust them and buy from them in the future.

Richard Dennis

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