Have you received emails wanting to do business with you, unfortunately from a competing firm? It may sound hilarious, but seriously speaking, we do research who we email to pitch our business.

I received an email starting with “dear valued customer…”, which is common for email spam not addressed to a particular person, since we are not customers for sure, but no big deal. Then the email got interesting.

The sender started to mention that he saw our banner ad, and that he represented a social media marketing firm that helps companies get on Facebook, before launching into a block of cut-and-paste text of “blah-blah-blah” about how useful Facebook is, and that they have “more than 25 million viral reach on Facebook…”

First, I checked out their website and they are a direct competitor to our firm. We are a more holistic communications consulting firm that specializes more with technology, public relations, human capital development, as well as social media. Their company is more of a social media outfit that claims to do public relations as well. A little different perhaps, but we won’t use their outfit for sure. A cursory browse-through on our website would have more than definitively allow a cold-caller to know what we do and offer (what we do is prominently shown as a tagline on our website), as well as who the principals are. A cursory check through the search engines would have also easily revealed what we do for a living.

Second, any professional social media outfit would not guarantee anything, much less make grander claims about social media than they can really deliver. The social media population is certainly growing in an exponential pace, but without understanding what a client’s business is and how best to target the RIGHT audience with the RIGHT marketing tools, there is absolutely no way you can guarantee anything. There may be millions of social media users out there, but the actual consumer population within any country that actually uses social media for PURCHASES, may be a very small number compared to those who actually frequent physical stores and so on. Social media is but one of the marketing tools in a complete arsenal available to holistic marketers, and no marketer worth his/her salt will recommend only one single marketing tool and claim to guarantee results.

When we want to pitch a prospect cold, the minimum we should do is at least go to their website and figure out what the prospect does and offer. Search engines are not difficult to use, and there can be lots of data available. If there is no data at all available on the Internet, perhaps then the next step is to find out from trade directories what the prospect does, before attempting to cold call or email (if available) the prospect. Don’t pitch blind, don’t pitch without research, and certainly, don’t pitch your competitors. It is, euphemistically speaking, ignorant.