Recognising humanity

Evelyn Rodriquez quotes Harry Beckwith’s The Invisible Touch

What people miss most today in their lives is connection. No focus group or survey will tell you this. No one will tell you they would like to feel more connected with you; the desire is too personal the request too strange.

I love the simple truth of this.

Discussing direct mail, he adds

Like too much marketing at its worst this very term [“relationship marketing”] defrauds the public. The only “relationship” this letter suggests is a bad one. The author knows nothing of the person with whom he is “developing this relationship,” any more than I understand and like someone who I happen to know [via a database] reads Time magazine, enjoys Sandra Bullock films, and avoids red meat.

I liked Evelyn’s coarser comment on the same theme

Spend a day reading nothing but press releases and you will want to puke.

Her further comments are well worth reading in full. She refers to a vociferous online challenge against bad marketing. The part that really struck home for me was this

I think we should educate first before we go off to tar and feather marketers. There seems to be another depersonalization element in play by assuming that the people – be they salespeople or marketers or businesspeople – on the other side of the table aren’t as human as you and I (putting on my customer hat). It takes two to tango and it takes two to create and sustain a relationship

I’ve noticed this undercurrent in Evelyn’s writing before and it’s been on my mind too. No-one enjoys a good rant more than I, but I see Evelyn’s point: that a rant against insensitivity risks perpetuating insensitivity. And sometimes conflict can be a way of engaging, it can be encompassed in a relationship, not banned from it.

Anyway this is all getting too wordy. It’s going to good to meet Evelyn in San Francisco next week and continue this in a real world conversation.

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