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Push vs Pull (Spam 3)

(January 10, 2007)
 The idea that something is not spam if I can opt out of it is laughable. The real question is partly whether I had anything to do with getting on the list in the first place. and partly whether the mail keeps to our original contract. If I did not ask for it, it is unsolicited. If I asked for one thing and you sent me something else, our original contract is broken.

People who define spam by citing the latest law on the subject are telling you how to not get fined, how to stay within the letter of the law. They are not telling you whether something is good or bad for your brand. They are telling you what you can get away with.

People who are looking for work are sensitive to these "vibes". The job hunting experience is rarely pleasant. Most job hunters operate with their "meaning sensors" set on full. That is, they look for meaning in every aspect of every transaction. What is a minor insult in other settings takes on a whole new character in the hunt.

The difference we're trying to illuminate is between push and pull marketing. In the words of an earlier time, it's the difference between promotion and attraction. In promotional marketing, you "push" material out to potential customers or candidates. In attraction based marketing, you pull customers or candidates to you. One is about having effective transmission capabilities. The other is all about being able to receive.

Pull marketing is the art of attracting people to your company. Push marketing is the way to get your message out to an audience that isn't (or hasn't been) attracted to you. Pull marketing is the game of winners. Push marketing often smells of desperation.

Great companies (or those in the current limelight) always have more candidates than they know what to do with. Pull marketing is at work and in their favor. Lesser known (and less hip) operations are faced with a choice. Do you build for the long term or do you strip mine?

Strip mining candidates is what you do when you send out great gobs of unsolicited email (spam) in order to get responses from a fractional percentage. The question you have to ask is what happens to your brand in the minds of the 99.95% who do not respond?

Building an attractive culture is the soundest approach to attracting and retaining a workforce. The work shows in every aspect of the culture and is not limited to pure recruiting. Building an attractive employment brand that pulls candidates in your direction is a question of choice and discipline.

One thing is for sure. In a culture based on attraction, unsolicited email is simply too rude to use.

For an interesting take on this conversation, see Zoe Goldring.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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