Hey Boss, shut up and listen

Have you ever worked for a company and spent a large part of your day frustrated by all the things that your boss did or didn’t do?  I remember working for a company and watched them make one mistake after the other and I listened to the customers and the other employees complain but I was powerless to do anything about it because management just wouldn’t listen to me, or they listened and I got the standard “I’ll take that into advisement, thanks for stopping by” and I knew damn well when I walked out of the door that it wasn’t ever going to go any further than that conversation.  Even as a paid consultant I have been to companies where I went around and talked to the low and mid level employees and the one thing that they all had in common is they all seemed to know what was wrong, and what needed to be done to fix it, but couldn’t get management to listen.

I always swore that when I owned my own company that I would listen to my employees, and I have. Low and mid level employees are usually on the front line, so to speak, of a business; sales and customer service reps deal with the customer every day, they know what the customer is happy about and they know what they are unhappy about, and they know what processes are working and which aren’t, they have first hand information and you should listen to them.

I have found that a good business owner or top brass at a company is one that listens to what his or her employees are saying because the bottom line is your employees know what is going on more than you do.  They are dealing with all the issues that a company has every day, you most likely are not, so don’t just nod your head and give them lip service telling them you will look into it, actually look into it.

I have found that those that use their employees as ear pieces tend to be well informed and tend to run a much better organization that those that do not.  I am not saying that you should let your employees make the decisions for you, not at all, what I am saying though is you should listen to what they have to say, they have information that you need, listen to them, and take that information and use it intelligently.  There is nothing worse than a company with a management team that does not know what is going on; listen to your employees, dissect the information and use it in a way that will make your company stronger and better.

The one about the Email Marketing campaign that failed

Imagine that you were out jogging one morning before work and you twisted your ankle, you managed to hobble home, and after sitting on the couch icing your ankle you knew that you were going to have to go to the doctor because your ankle was now the size of a tennis ball and you could not walk on it without feeling intense pain.  So you call in to the office and let them know what’s going on, and you get your significant other to drive you to the doctor’s office.

The doctor x-rays your ankle and tells you that you sprained your ankle and also have a hair line fracture, he says that the pain and the swelling will subside in about a week to week and a half, but the fracture will take around four weeks to heal and that you need to stay off of it during this time, even if there is no pain because you could cause more serious damage to your ankle which could result in having to have surgery and it could cause you life time issues with your ankle.  So he gives you a pair of crutches an ace bandage and sends you on your way.

So a week goes by, and just like the doctor predicted the pain in your ankle has gone away, it feels totally normal, you feel as if you could jog again.  So you suit up, put your running shoes on, your IPod is strapped to your arm, you are anticipating a run, the sun beating on you, a light wind in your face, ah yeah, but then  your significant other comes into the room and asks you if you are out of your mind, did you not hear what the doctor had said, that you need to stay off of your ankle for at least 4 weeks because you have a hairline fracture and putting any pressure on it whatsoever is very risky and could have serious implications.  You wave her off; whatever, what does the doctor know?  So he spent eight years in school,  and another two years as an intern, pfff,  he doesn’t know my body like you do right? Screw him and everyone else, you know what you are doing, and what you need is a run and that is exactly what you are going to do.

So you head out the door when you get to the end of the driveway you put your earphones in and push play and with the sound of Three Doors Down vibrating through your head you start your jog.  Ah yes, this is exactly what you needed, the sun is shining, it is a beautiful day, you feel the energy start to pulsate through your body with each step and as you find your pace BAM, CRUNCH! Your ankle gives out and you are laying on the ground in the most excruciating pain you have ever known, a neighbor that was gardening comes running over to you, an ambulance is called and you are rushed to the emergency room.

The doctor is shaking his head at you in wonder, as he tells you that the fracture in your ankle split up the bone and you are going to need surgery.  He looks at you like and asked you what you were thinking, after he explicitly told you that this is what was going to happen.

This is how we feel in the email marketing industry everyday when clients insist that they are going to put in “MAKE MONEY $$$ FAST, ASK US HOW!!!”  in their subject, or insist that they want their entire email ad to be a jpeg pic, or when they have a page and a half of text in their ad and we tell them that it is too much information, nobody is going to read all of that and that it needs to be short and sweet and to the point, and that just enough information to get them to click through to their website is what is needed.  We explain that a lot of graphics and colors are not necessary, that email advertising works different than the print advertising that they have been doing for years, those rules don’t apply here.

I often wonder why someone comes to us, hire us because we are experts in this field and then do the opposite of what we tell them to do. We have years of experience in the industry and we know what works and what doesn’t work,  and you pay us good money to create an email campaign for you, wouldn’t it make sense to take the advice of those that know what they are doing?  Isn’t that why you came to us in the first place?  I wish I that I could say that this was a rare experience but it’s not, it happens all of the time, and more often than not it happens with smaller businesses that have less experience, which is all the more reason to follow the advice of the professionals.   We are always telling people, it doesn’t matter what you think looks good,  what you think is irrelevant, the only opinion that matters is the receiver of the email, those that you are trying to drive to your site.

The point of this article is if you are going to hire a professional marketing company with years of experience it makes sense to follow their advice and listen to what they are telling you and let them help you create a results driven campaign.