This is the first in a series of articles on marketing web sites and their customer service and marketing. This site is called MarketingProfs.com. I already know it will be two parts.
I started getting the MarketingProfs newsletter “Get to the Point – B2B Marketing,” a little over a week ago. It was free and I was curious. The positioning of the site is great – Marketing Professors – or those smarter about marketing than everyone else are sharing what they know. Cool.
I developed, wrote, reported and edited a marketing newsletter for five years. I wrote about marketing and advertising for Business Week, The New York Times and other publications. I thought I had seen every possible angle. There were a couple of new ones – of course about social media.
The first couple of issues the cover stories of the newsletter were pretty good. I thought this is refreshing – and a couple of issues I actually learned something. Then the articles changed about three days ago – they became your standard web crap, drivel with a marginal headline – one point I already knew and a lot of other ideas I didn’t even bother reading. The About.com of marketing.
So I went on the MarketingProfs web site. I still like this idea so I go to a section called Sponsored Links. Maybe I should advertise? So I fill out a form – I make an ad – well it’s actually two lines but they call it an ad. Then the site asks for $140 for 20,000 impressions and there’s a 7 in there somewhere. I don’t get what this means.
So I call the toll free number and ask what the Sponsored Links are, where they go, what 20,000 impressions means. I get customer service and someone who puts me on hold for 11 minutes and then tells me his supervisor will call me back. Three hours later I have a toll free number that I think is them in my phone – I call back and it’s her, the supervisor. She didn’t leave a message and says something about getting interrupted by another call as she dialed. Right.
I ask about the content. I learn that the free content is not “premium content,” which of course you have to pay for. I do not ask the price and she does not offer one. I ask her if all of their content is for sale? She says something bright and chipper that kind of answers yes.
I get off the phone and figure out that the first content I got for the newsletter must be better and then they started sending the free crap. This probably makes people go to the web site and learn more. Or maybe it just makes me cancel or stop reading it.
So I ask her about the Sponsored Links and she says she can’t help me either but she can find someone who can. I ask if the Sponsored Links are for the web site. She says they are for the newsletters.
An hour later I get a call from an advertising sales rep. He says the sponsored links are self explanatory and he doesn’t sell them. When I persist, he says he’ll walk through the web site with me. He does not know where the Sponsored Links are on the home page. I show them to him. I remind him that he is an advertising sales rep - as nicely as I can while wanting to scream. His dog starts barking in the background.
I ask him the same questions about impressions, reach, etc. and he is impatient and tries to get me off the phone. I picture the dog, big, with a lot of matted hair, barking at the door wanting to be walked or maybe tackling a child or robber.
He sends me a media kit which has no information about sponsored links in it and asks me to send a list of questions and he’ll get me answers. I haven’t done this yet.
Stay tuned for Part II of Learn to Practice What You Preach.