We recently enhanced our email newsletter distribution system in an attempt to further focus the value we provide to our broad base of constituents based on their individual and often unique preferences.

Many Fortune 500 companies can’t get this right, so I was amazed at some of our findings:

  1. On the positive side, many of the 40,000+ recipients not only opened our newsletter, but read the content, found it of interest and value, and even forwarded a number of items to others – see article on the value of social networking at work
  2. Why do I need to know you’re out of the office and won’t be back until next Tuesday at 12:28 AM?!? We all get way too many emails, and I’m convinced this is one we can do without.
  3. The referral to others while you’re out was interesting, if not amusing – “here are 28 different names and numbers for you to contact if you want any of these 117 items on the menu of what I do each day. By the way, I’ve stepped away for a bio break for 00:02 minutes.”

Joking aside, the most disappointing aspect of our campaign was:

  • Some really nasty responses! When did we become this unprofessional over an unwanted email? Simply hit the delete button or click the unsubscribe link – why the hostility? And while we’re on this topic, what does my mother have anything to do with it?!?
  • Corporate Relationship Deficit Disorder – confirmed! People who specifically came up to me and have asked for copies of my presentation and have sent me emails, suddenly have no idea who I am? I actually researched and found one person’s business card and emailed the back of the card (where they wrote a kind note) to them to remind them. It reiterated that we have a very short attention span, and our interest, and what we perceive to be of value changes daily!

Bottom line – two lessons / reminders:

  1. Stay in consistent contact with value-add; over several months, while we cleaned up and consolidated our list of contacts, we didn’t do a very good job in staying in touch and as such, people are not likely to remember you when you do re-engage them.
  2. I’m reminded of advice from Bruce Kasanoff, a former CEO of mine: “Remember information FOR people and not ABOUT them; when it’s for them, it is for their benefit – when it’s about them, it’s for yours!”

At Relationship Economics, we’re trying to remember information for you and provide value-add with every interaction in the quantifiable and strategic value of business relationships. I hope you’ll join us on what I can promise will be an interesting journey in 2009 and beyond…

Click HERE to subscribe to the Relationship Economics Newsletter, our Social Networking Best Practices, the Relationship Economics Bookmark, and / or Upcoming Events and get the 1st chapter of my book as a free download…

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