Ask Mr. Marketing: Clean Up In Aisle 3 — An Update

By Rob Weinberg

Remember 2009, when my marketing agency was named the greatest grocery store in San Diego County?

We were honored by the U.S. Commerce Association Review Committee, which offered to provide us with an award, plaque and press release suitable for local media outlets —all for a mere $200. After vacuuming up the confetti, we returned to work.

Yet the committee wasn’t done with us. Portraying us as grocers, they sold our name to credit card processors, magazines, uniform companies and webinar developers.

Two years later we’re still getting solicitations. Efforts to remove us from those lists have proved fruitless.

I’d probably laugh at this entire situation if the constant barrage of phone calls and emails didn’t distract us from business. Like with unwanted faxes arriving from every travel and insurance company under the sun, though, I’m the guy who pays for this entertainment.

I’m not amused.

We all understand technical support is increasingly provided by faceless drones in Upper Slobovia. Their sometimes questionable English comprehension made them conclude MarketBuilding MUST be a grocery store.

Did anyone examine our website?

I won’t debate political and economic ramifications of outsourcing. However, selling mailing lists without determining if the information being sold is accurate is bad news for the mailing list industry overall. The veracity of all mailing lists becomes questionable.

My inability to independently verify unknown lists’ value, plus being increasingly squeezed for time, convinces me to pay more to rent from established mailing list firms like Venture or InfoUSA. Or I work directly with trade associations or magazines to rent their lists.

Of course not all small lists are stinkers. Sang the Jackson 5: “One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch girl.” It may make sense to rent a house list from someone you know personally.

However, if you sell medical supplies and get a stray email offering “Every American kidney donor on a single mailing list” at a ridiculously cheap price, BEWARE!

Then, if you DO rent that list, don’t be surprised to discover you’re trying to sell dialysis equipment to the “Kid Knee Playground Safety Equipment Co.”

I’m betting they don’t buy anything from you.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

Mr. Marketing’s grocery career highlight was returning a year’s worth of cans and bottles to Albertsons. Find out how he spent the money at

Related posts:

  1. Ask Mr. Marketing: Making video marketing work for you
  2. Ask Mr. Marketing: Sorry – I’m in a “meeting” right now…
  3. Ask Mr. Marketing: What’s that black box?
  4. Mr. Marketing: Making sure you get paid
  5. Ask Mr. Marketing: An ode to marketing

Short URL:

Posted by Staff on Dec 30 2011. Filed under Columnists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply