Poorly conceived marketing outreach produces only missed opportunities

Every once in awhile, a sales initiative crosses my desk that leaves me totally befuddled. In our business, it’s not uncommon for us to see examples of less-than-effective—if not downright embarrassing—marketing and promotional efforts. Rarely do we encounter one, though, that fails to communicate even the most basic message of all: what product or service the vendor provides. This weekend I received a communiqué via LinkedIn that broke this cardinal rule. I was left wondering what the company did and why I should consider reaching out to the representative as requested. Take a look (I’ve left the punctuation and grammatical errors uncorrected)...

Hi Elizabeth My name is XXX XXX  I happened across your profile and I wanted to take a quick minute to reach out to you. I work or a company called XXXXXX. My company, XXXXXX, has been in business for over 100 years servicing companies and large organizations throughout Oregon and the United States. We have been recognized in Salem Oregon, as well as named Business Of The Year by delivering versatile, quality, and reliable services for our clients. I'm writing just to initiate a conversation and see if you would be open to meeting about any potential opportunities for us to work together. Companies typically hire us for one of the following reasons:

• We eliminate client risks through a system of checks and balances
• We consistently bring clients the best value for their budget
• Through proven methods of lean operations and quality control we protect our customers time.

  I know connecting with someone out of the blue like this can be an interesting process, so feel free to check me out here on LinkedIn or email me at XXXXXXXX for some background information on XXXXXX and myself. Whether or not you're interested in talking, I really look forward to connecting further. Feel free to shoot me a personal invite, and I look forward to touching base with you soon. Here are the problems with this note:

  • I don’t what “space” the company is in.
  • I don’t know what the company does.
  • The writer asks me to make the effort of “checking her out,” after acknowledging the note comes “out of the blue.”
  • Even if I’m not interested in talking to the writer, she is looking forward to “connecting further.”
  • Again, the writer asks me to make the effort to shoot her a personal invite.
  • I’ve been given no incentive to do more than delete the message.

How much more effective would this communication have been if the writer had simply:

  • Defined the company’s market category.
  • Outlined the company’s product or service offerings.
  • Provided greater specificity about customer results or value delivered.
  • Offered a quick, virtually effortless way for me to indicate interest so she could arrange further conversation.
  • Proofread the note—or have a colleague do so.

The science of marketing communications isn’t mystical, magical or even complex (really!). At its most basic, it requires only 1) a simple, clear message and 2) a nonintrusive opportunity for further dialog. Unfortunately, the note above fails at both.