Thursday, February 23, 2012

Free Catalog

Nowadays everyone is giving something away, either through a purchase or the more popular sweepstakes style giveaway. The usual premise involves something really great, or maybe not so great, you sign up and your name in put in the proverbial fishbowl to be drawn later. I believe the general idea of these giveaways in to increase interest in a store or its products, and getting their name out into the public. The cynic in me says that the company is only fishing for a mailing list. I don’t know about you but every time I sign up for some giveaway I start receiving massive amounts of spam mail. I also start receiving flyers and mailings that I haven’t asked for from companies I never hear of.

Marketing is big business. It takes a lot of time and energy to cultivate a mailing list for marketing purposes. There are whole sectors of the business community that are devoted to getting you more customers and everyone participates. Portero Luxury will send you a minimum of three emails a day if you sign up to receive emails of specials and upcoming sales. Is it really a special if there are three of them per day? Lucky Magazine has a daily giveaway but also wants you to allow emails from the company supplying the prize. Just about any store that you have given your email or address to will send you stuff. This is how companies market today. Bulk mail is still relatively cheap so if a company has your address, expect a free catalog. If you give out your email address, you’re going to get spammed.

What I hate is when a company sells their mailing list for profit. When I was in law school I signed up for prep classes. Not only do I still receive information from this preparation school I receive announcements of upcoming events and discounts on books and other material from other companies that do the same thing. Someone sold my name, address and email address, isn’t that illegal? There are companies that sell products that I am genuinely interested in and I look forward to information from these companies. When a company has a sale or has a new product, thanks for letting me know about the sale or sending me a new catalog in the mail. This type of information is helpful, but selling my name and address to a company I’ve never expressed interest in is not helpful.

I have catalogs that I send out for free, someone just needs to ask for one, no obligation and I won’t spam you after it’s sent. I have a profound aversion to this other type of marketing. I believe if you have a really cool product, beautiful jewelry or a reasonable price people will buy from you. I have been told that this is na├»ve but it works for my sensibilities since I would want to be treated in the same way. Besides, no one is going to order a catalog for products that they have no interest in, right? Genuine interest creates genuine customers who genuinely want to buy your products. I’ll take the slow road and build customer relations over the long haul because building relationships is what makes a company worthy of repeat business.

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