What’s in a Word?

list“Sir?” I prodded, interrupting The Effective Detective’s reverie.

“What?!” the startled detective exclaimed, “Oh Watson, what can I help you with,” regaining his composure after almost jumping out of his chair.

“I don’t require assistance at this moment sir, but I am puzzled about something. I guess you could say I consider it a mystery,” I said, so absorbed in my own thoughts, I didn’t even notice The Detective’s reaction.

“Well Watson, you have started today’s discussion, pray continue with details of your ‘mystery’,” The Detective answered, warming to the challenge.

“Ah, yes sir. You see what puzzles me is what seems to be a misunderstanding of the use of the word ‘list’. I have noticed often in your and others’ presentations that when that word is used, confusion seems to set in. It is as if the word has no meaning, or at least no meaning in the marketing sense,” I explained.

“Ah Watson, you have picked up on an interesting situation. One where the same word can have two different meanings depending on the audience. If you mention that word to an Internet marketer, there is no confusion, they know and understand of what you are speaking. However, I too have noticed the confusion in the eyes of brick-and-mortar product business owners, and professional service providers – even the ones that consider themselves virtual, at least in terms of their office location.

“To the Internet marketer, their list is the heart of their business. It is the thing that allows them to exist, and it is to be nurtured and developed above almost everything else. Unfortunately, too often, to lets call them ‘real-world’ businesses, the ones that see their customers, interact with them directly, their ‘list’ is much more akin to an accounting device. It allows them to calculate profit and loss on an individual basis. It allows them to claim a following in their marketing,” The Detective stopped here for his characteristic pause, designed to give me a chance to interject something that would spur the conversation on. Of course I obliged him.

“So they claim a following in their marketing, instead of marketing to their following?”

“Bravo Watson! An excellent line indeed. You’ve hit the nail on the head! What most non-Internet businesses do is constantly market to the universe of people who aren’t really aware of them, hoping that the message will strike someone’s fancy who is also in the market for the product or service at the precise moment it is being advertised to them. Whereas the Internet marketer will market their wares consistently to the universe of people who are aware of them – the list, knowing that even if now is not the time, next week, next month or perhaps even next year might be, and through consistent contact they will be there to serve,” The Detective responded.

“And to the universe of people not aware of them? Are they ignored?” I asked.

“Elementary dear Watson, they are marketed to as well, how else will you build the list? If, by chance they are ready to buy today, wonderful! But, if not, that is okay as well. They are invited to become part of the community, and will be given many other chances to purchase something,” The Detective answered patiently.

“So it is a constant series of sales pitches?” I asked, imagining a never ending barrage of advertisements to a helpless list armed only with a wastebasket and the delete button on their computer.

“Bah! Watson, that would be suicide for the business. However, that discussion is for another day,” the Detective responded forcefully.

“As you wish, sir.”

Comments

  1. Nice!!! This is a great lesson for all business owners to read. Building a list is so important. It not only allows you to build a relationship with your clients (AND prospects). Your list is what builds equity in your business…and allows you to sell it at some point!

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