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Online marketing... "blasting" and "driving" don't work

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Online Marketing: No place for blasts and drives

Online marketing was the key topic at last week's Aslanian Group conference in Chicago. Nearly 80 people from colleges and universities of every type gathered at University of Chicago's Gleacher Center for 2 days of presentations and discussions.

A small but significant point stuck in my mind on the way home: in a marketing world where the customer is more in control than ever before, terms like "Email blast" and "driving people to the website" don't make much sense. Here's why.

  • Driving people to the web. You can't drive people to your website like a well-trained sheep dog can herd sheep into a pen. You have to persuade people to go voluntarily to your site. Or hope that they find you in a search effort. And when they arrive, you'd better be able to engage them with the first 2 to 5 seconds with content they care about, or they will bounce right off your web page and back out of the pen. That's their choice and people are not reluctant to make it. "Persuasion marketing" is a term that deserves more attention.
  • Email blasts: The assumption here is that if we fire away at a target often enough we are going to hit it and create a desired action. This flies in the face of the direct marketing imperative that is behind a successful email program. Today, more than ever, we should send less email (and direct mail) but focus it more carefully and more personally for higher conversion rates from within a smaller group. "Blast" away and you're more likely to annoy people than anything else. Even people who might at first have signed up to receive your email won't take kindly to what comes from a "blast" mentality. 

Marketing really would be easy if we could "drive" and "blast" people to get them where we want them. Alas in higher education marketing, we can't do that. Let's show more awareness of reality and banish these inaccurate and silly words.

That's all for now.

 

 

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