From The Editor | September 3, 2015

If Your Name Is In The Subject Line … You're Doing It Wrong!


By Travis Kennedy


“We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in.”

 – Craig Davis

I’ve often said that manufacturers in the water market fall within three categories as it relates to their marketing plan.  Those categories are:

  • Marketers that don’t understand their buyer’s journey
  • Marketers that understand and complement their buyer’s journey
  • Marketers that understand their buyer’s journey but choose to retain outdated practices.

Depending on which category you fall into will determine how much value you see in what I’m about to tell you. 

I am often surprised at just how much content comes in from manufacturers that is designed to pitch, instead of to engage.  Before these pieces run, it is often easy to tell which pieces of content will be successful and which pieces will be simply “part of the noise.”  The “tell” (as poker players might say) is in the subject line.  The subject line sets the tone for the piece and it goes a long way in determining if your content will be consumed.  If your subject line has your company name in it then in most every case the content to follow will be a self- promotional sales pitch in disguise.

Buyers can sniff that out the minute they lay eyes on your title and will quickly move on.   Your subject line and in turn your content piece should rarely if ever mention your company, product or technology by name.  That approach may have worked in 1985 and 1995 – but not in 2015.

In the Water Market, most B2B marketing messages are similar enough and frequent enough that potential buyers are confused to the point of apathy.  It’s like we are all in a room screaming into our own bullhorns to the point where all that our potential buyers hear is NOISE.  The companies that put down their mouthpieces, walk over to their potential  customer, introduce themselves and begin figuring out how they can help by first offering free insight and experience are the ones that have found the sweet spot in this complex communication process. 

Aerzen is a great example of a company doing this in the water market. They recently launched their own e-newsletter that aims to educate operators on optimizing their plant operations. There is little to no mention of the company’s line of industrial aerators. Instead, readers will find all kinds of helpful information about optimizing their wastewater treatment plant’s performance.

Complementing a buyer’s journey, similar to the Aerzen example, is what we’re referring to when discussing the value of Brand Publishing.  If you stop telling people how awesome you are, and start being helpful, you will find an audience that engages with you instead of running away from you.

Prospects, customers and buyers all crave the same thing when trying to connect with suppliers and that is the promise of a valuable and constructive experience.  If your plan is to create and distribute good engaging content built on useful information while also offering a hint of entertainment, you’re on the right path.  The primary goal should be around driving prospect engagement and interaction with the eventual goal of increased revenue.

Until you stop aspiring to show everyone how awesome you are and actually start becoming helpful, you and your message will simply be “part of the noise”. 

Image credit: "IMG_1330_Reunion_JCareyPhoto," © 2009 Carole Carey, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license: