This is a test, this is only a marketing test

People and companies often have rules of engagement, plainly stated on websites or directly, in email and on the phone. These rules are marketing tests of sorts, à la, will you engage us in the manner we prefer? How well do you follow instructions?

How people respond to the test also reveals compatibility. Can you do things our way? Are we comfortable in communications?

Like almost any test, there are multiple ways to pass it, and equally, there are many ways to fail the test. Given the fact that the end goal of any marketing contact is to begin a relationship, the smartest approach is to follow instructions. But if you are confused—between marketing or sales—about why you are making contact, failing becomes a whole lot easier.

They key then in making contact is in knowing your precise purpose. If your first contact is purely for sales, and the rules of engagement are incompatible, you can easily choose to skip the test and move on to more qualified prospects, or those who are not testing you. If, on the other hand, your purpose is marketing, the easiest path to success is to pass the test by following the simple instructions and making the desired connection.

(By the way, it fascinates me how often vendors who want our business contact us without reading our one simple rule of engagement or after ignoring it, and expect a positive reply.)

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

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