I Got Marketed

by Emily Jasper on May 3, 2010

*Normally, at the beginning of the month I would be going over monthly goals. I got so excited about sharing this story that I’ll catch up on goals a bit later.*

One thing I love about my job is that as part of our employee rewards, they’re experimenting with flexible work. For me, it means I can work from home a couple days a week (this came in handy when my back was out). What that means, however, is that if mail was delivered to me at the office, I may not see it for a few days. When I walk in the next morning, I get all excited…do I have mail today?

This morning there was a yellow envelope. From Texas!

I don’t know many people in Texas. I like the state, and actually, would love to visit again. So I was like, hmm, who would send this? I grab the envelope, and do the first thing any self-respecting Gen-Yer would do: start Googling.

The company at the top was VLG…and well, I got a church in my first search. I know I’ve talked about religion before, but wow, a church in Texas sending me stuff? Crazy. Then I dug a bit deeper, and saw that one of the other results was a marketing firm. Ah ha!

It now felt safe to open the package (you never know…).

Out fell a hotel key card and a napkin with a message to ME! Wow…these people are good. And slightly creepy. I debated whether I wanted to visit the website or not, who knows, maybe this isn’t the firm, and maybe it’s someone with the initials VLG stalking me. What if this card would locate me! Oh wait, they already located me by sending something…

I took a deep breath and visited the hotel website. The screen showed me pictures of a beautiful lobby and dining room. In the dining room, between notes about customer intimacy and learning your audience, I could order dinner (salad with Italian dressing, steak mid-rare, and water). The site thanked me, hoped I enjoyed my meal, and then:


They admit they are the marketing firm! They even had a timer up of how long they had held my attention (something we marketers think about).

What did we learn?

  1. If you send another marketer something about marketing, there’s always going to be suspicion.
  2. While you may be hoping to get some business, most marketers will be weary of the bait and switch.
  3. As a marketer, we should let ourselves be marketed more often.

The only time I really feel like I’m being marketed to is by commercials, and I fast-forward through them all the time now. I don’t even look at junk mail, and it’d be great if my name stopped getting added to spam lists. But a random yellow envelope, that actually had me thinking bombs, anthrax, stalkers, oh my! got my attention enough to write a blog post.

It’d be neat to keep seeing what’s out there. Stop and observe what I’ve been ignoring. Maybe there’s good stuff out there.

What about you? When you market, what are you aiming for? Is the air of mystery enough anymore? What’s the most creative marketing you’ve seen?