Sunday, March 29, 2015

Engagement vs Junk Mail: Strategies for Association Marketing

I’m not sure why but the volume of junk email marketing arriving last week reached a tipping point.

Here’s a sample of what arrived in my email box one day last week:
  • Connecting up ... “Can we set up a call? What time works best next week?”
  • Followup ... “It’s Josh. I just wanted to followup and see if you received my earlier email?”
  • Top Issues in all 50 States ... “We recently asked reporters in all 50 states and Washington, DC.”
  • Dear owner of ... “We make digital floor plans using below software based on your Handsketch/PDF/JPEG files. We offer a wide range of drafting services and we have fulltime staffs working Inhouse at our office located in India.”
All had a couple of things in common:
  • All were unsolicited contact from companies I’ve never done business with.
  • All senders were obviously ignorant about my company and what I do.
  • All “signed” their emails with a “personal signature” as though we were friends.
As I was thinking about this, I saw the following request on an ASAE Collaborate section ...
  • “Does anyone have a good membership list vendor they use? We use the usual suspects but have one client that is a specialty in the healthcare arena and is looking for a potential list for membership recruitment.” 


In today’s engagement environment, we have an association professional asking for a list for a “junk mail campaign.”

Isn’t there a better way?

  • Several years ago, during a marketing committee call of one of my clients, the committee struggled with where to get a list of chief medical officers for a marketing campaign. While they discussed options, I did a quick LinkedIn search for the title they were seeking. I shared with them that there were nearly 7,000 people with that title on LinkedIn. And, suggested rather than rending a list, they may need to develop a LinkedIn engagement strategy through which they engaged prospects via a LinkedIn group and white papers.
How Can Your Association Avoid “Junk Mail Cold Calling?”
  • Develop personas for each of your target audiences ... don’t assume all are the same.
  • Do your research to know the communications preferences of your personas: email, social media, texting, etc.
  • Create a content marketing strategy that engages members (and nonmembers) where they are.
  • Keep refining your process based on results.
If you want me to respond, know who I am. Know my needs. Tell me how your products solve my problems. But, don’t fill up my inbox with a bunch of junk!


  1. Steve, I'm with you! I've suffered (and continue to suffer) from countless thoughtless pitches from the events industry, and wrote a couple of relevant articles that might be of interest to you and your readers.

    The first is a great example of how to do this kind of marketing right:

    The second tackles a pet peeve: vendor pitches that give no information up front on how much their products/services cost:

  2. Thanks Adrian. The spam (some call it email marketing) continues coming in.