Marketing Abuse: The Word "Partnership"

Dear Marketer:

I get about 5 of these emails a day.

Subject:  Partnership Proposal-Damco Inc.

Dear Dave,

Hope you are doing great.

Damco has vast experience in providing high quality and cost effective data processing services to its clients globally. Since its inception in 1996, Damco has honed its level of expertise and built robust processes and methodologies ensuring quick turnaround times, confidentiality and data security. Damco’s offshore delivery centres are ISO 9001:2000 and CMMI Level 3 certified and in addition we are fully compliant with BS7799 security standards and Data Protection Act 1998.

Damco has already delivered its data processing services to leading organizations in various industries including – Publishers, Libraries, Law Firms, Insurance Companies, Credit Card Companies, Market Research Companies, Healthcare Providers, Universities, Hospitality, Airlines, Banks, Registration companies, Government.

Highlights of our offerings are:

a) Up to 50% Cost Saving from Outsourcing
b) Domain Experience & Technical Expertise
c) High Quality standards in accordance with ISO 9001:2000
d) Well defined processes and methodologies
e) Data Protection, Confidentiality and Service Level Agreements
f)  State-of-the-art Communication Facilities

[Next 5 paragraphs omitted]

I have many objections to these emails, which typically come from off-shoring companies.  Let’s share some lessons about what’s wrong with them.

  • First, they are deceptive.  They are not about “partnership” (unless of course you define partnership as “I give you money” and you give me offshore developers, which I don’t).
  • They start business relationship based on a lie.  Credibility should be the top priority for the marketing department.  With these mails you first get my attention and then immediately destroy your credibility — the equivalent of expending great energy to shout:  I’M DAVE AND I SUCK.  (Why say anything at all?)  I know very little about Dacom or Damco or whoever they are, but I do know one thing:  they are willing to send misleading emails to increase lead conversion rates and therefore I want nothing whatsoever to do with them.
  • They bury me in useless facts that neither differentiate the offerings nor make me interested in doing business with the company:  they mails are– quite literally — all the same.  Everyone is CMMI this and ISO that.
  • They are mis-leveled.   They go to the trouble of renting a CEO mailing list and then write copy is neither CEO-level nor designed for the #2 thing CEOs do with email:  forward them to a direct report. (The #1 thing is delete and junk-list the sender.)  Done correctly, the starting copy would be written to make me want to forward the mail to my VP of Engineering and the rest of the copy would be written for him.

You could preserve your credibility and try to find a more strategic marketing angle with a subject like:

  • Outsourcing:  Five Things You Didn’t Know
  • Finally, Something Different in an Outsourcing Vendor
  • Yet Another Outsourcing Mail, Not.  Three Reasons Acme’s Different

Or, apply some of Porter’s generic strategies and head along one of two primary dimensions:

  • Outsourcing At Rock-Bottom Cost, Here’s How We Can Do It (cost leadership)
  • How Thing X Makes Vendor Y Unique in Outsourcing (differentiation)

But no matter your chosen angle, Dear Marketer, please remember this:  do not start a business relationship with a lie.

The relationship will last only as long as it takes to hit “junk sender” and you will be permanently muted thereafter.



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