Another post in my disjointed look at small publishing.

I have a backlog of writing/business/marketing podcasts I listen to when driving or washing the dishes. Or cleaning. (I’ve found I can’t listen while working on the computer since most of my computer-time involves writing and reading.)

This podcast was an Internet radio show that interviews publishing experts and this guest was an expert in marketing for small publishers or authors (either/or). I haven’t read any of his books, but one of them is on my “buy” list. He was discussing building newsletter lists and how marketing today is all about building relationships with your customers. He has a newsletter list of 10,000 subscribers and feels he has developed a relationship with them.

Not only is he a far more popular guy than I currently am, I wonder how he thinks he has a relationship with 10,000 people he’s never met.

Why does this statement bother me?

Because I’ve had a number of discussions (verging on argument) with my lover about the relationships I built with my escort clients. Many clients I only saw for an hour at a time (my base minimum). Still, I tried to establish a connection with them and forge a small relationship. Obviously, it was easier to do with those I saw again and again (or those with whom I “clicked”). Even so, a lot can happen in an hour’s time concentrated between two people. So I argue that I built relationships (except in those few cases where it wasn’t working out no matter what). He argues I can’t possibly think that I built a relationship based on such a short time-frame.

Well, thanks to Mr. Book Marketing Expert, my point is proven. I can now argue I built a way better relationship with my clients than he possibly can with his 10,000 subscribers. In fact, I didn’t realize just how great a relationship I was building. I underestimated myself! I was a marketing/relationship genius!

I’m working hard at building relationships with my readers. I can’t spend one-on-one time with every one. The blog thing is fun; the newsletter thing kind of stiff. I keep thinking I need to do more, but according to Mr. Book Marketing Expert I’m actually well along the road in relationship-building, even though it doesn’t feel like it compared to escort work. I’ll have to get used to my more-limited level of relationship-building.

Of course, this whole post leads one to wonder: is having sex marketing? (Answer: it sure can be!)

9 thoughts on “customer relations

  1. I think the word “relationship” is getting *way* over-used in the PR/marketing world. Same thing with “conversation.” They’ve both become just two more buzzwords; I guess the irony is lost on the people who toss them around so much.

  2. I have the same discussions with my wife about people I only know from Internet contact. I think what it comes down to is the quality of the interaction you have and the intent behind the contact. From my years online and more recently through our podcast I have fostered many of what I would call relationships. We’ve never met, but the quality of the interactions I’ve had with people far exceed some people I see every day.

    Case in point, one of the guys we interviewed kept in contact with us, and we’ve talked through Instant Messenger, emails, myspace, and over the phone. We’ve never met in person, but I know more about his family then anybody at my workplace save one. I was a part of the fundraising for his father’s kidney transplant. I’m named in at least 3 of the songs he’s put on albums. To me, that’s a quality relationship.

    That being said, I market the show to a lot of people with whom I have relationships, but I wouldn’t claim to have a relationship to everybody I market to. Though, if you could consider the possibility of a uni-directional relationship, then I guess I could say that I have in some way affected the lives of most of those people.

    I don’t know. Depends on how you look at it.

    By the way, I think I’m now going to start referring to having sex with my wife as “marketing.” That ought to get her all moist. 😉

  3. Nerraux,

    You do have a relationship with the man you haven’t met but know very well. I certainly have relationships with people I’ve never met except through email. However I’m not going to claim I have a relationship with 10K people (if I had that many on my newsletter list) because I’d spend all day long having a relationship and not getting work done.

    True, this whole business/relationship thing does depend on your perspective, but Amber pointed out that too many people toss the words around without thinking about the real meaning. “Relationship” is going to become as empty as “think outside the box.”

    I can’t wait for the reaction from your wife as you explain how you’re “marketing” to her and building a “relationship.”


  4. I think there would be a fair proportion of those people he claims to have relationships who feel the extent of that relationship is “f*ck, another email from this guy”, spam filter alert, delete.

    Absolute marketing jargon. It annoys me too.

  5. Madison,

    I agree. I sign up for newsletters all the time, but when they’re all about the next telemarketing seminar (or about their damn pets), I unsubscribe.

    Try not to do that with my newsletter readers. I haven’t found the balance yet but I sure don’t pretend I have a relationship with them all.


  6. In most cases “relationship” = “acquantaince”. In his case, it’s a marketing ploy to impress probably.

  7. JW,

    But people take the terminology seriously. It’s all the rage in marketing stuff that I read and listen to. I agree with your take though.

    It’s just funny to me.


  8. Laura,

    I deleted your comment as spam. It was irrelevant to this post and was only about promoting your own blog. You’re welcome to try again, but please make your comments about the post (or the discussion following the post).


Comments are now closed.