Give their line of work, marketers are difficult people to market to. Good subject lines and knowing when to leave cold call pitches on voicemail (never) are good places to start.

If you have ever tried to market to a marketer, you deserve a medal. We know it all, have done it all, and have already built our relationships and alliances. So how can you get air-time with us? And once you are "in," how do you stay in the fold?

The column is written for you: my vendor, service provider, agency and prospective partner. You all work so diligently to try and reach those of us on the brand and client side of the world. We not only need your help, but we really do value your input, your insights and your ideas. What we don't like is the manner in which some of you attempt to reach us, even though your outreach is meant with the best intentions.


At a recent conference, I had the opportunity to sit next to a service provider whose company I was very interested in working with. I've long been impressed with their offering, case studies, market reputation and quality of work. The provider seemed to be surprised that I knew so much about them and asked why we hadn't yet set up a test or deal.

I laughed.

Why didn't I whip out my pen and sign a contract a the table, if the services were so clearly beneficial? So many reasons. As we talked, we both agreed it could be helpful to open up the "client side" kimono and give you some secret hints in actually driving a response:

My best advice is to challenge you to "put yourself in our shoes".

  1. We live super busy lives. Most senior marketers are (Read more...) meetings from 9-6 every day. We often don't eat lunch, and we get most of our work done early in the morning or at night. Don't take it personally when we don't take your calls, can't meet for lunch or drinks, or take up to a week to reply.
  2. Write a good subject line. This will be your hardest challenge, but the one that will get you the most wins. Most marketers receive 200-500 emails every single day. If your subject line is not perfect, your email doesn't have a shot. Don't be cute, don't be sales-y. Be real. Simply ask for permission to continue to the conversation.
  3. Don't call cell phones. Unless you have a relationship with me, don't call my cell phone. If you do and I answer, I will not have time to listen to your pitch.
  4. Don't leave cold call pitches on voicemail. Would that ever work if you were trying to get a date? Ok, then. Find a better way.
  5. Send LinkedIn emails, they work - if it's sincere. Don't give me a pitch about how we are in the same groups and should meet to "put our heads together" about life. Who has time for that? Tell me who else you are working with that I am connected to and what we should talk about.
  6. If you send a FedEx, direct mail letter or gift, leave clear net steps in the envelope/box. Yes, snail mail and boxes still work really well, but please remember to have a next step.

These are just a few hints and tricks to help you hone your outreach and pitch. Good luck out there!

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