What is your agency’s definition of “relationship”?
For almost two decades, I’ve written and preached about the importance of relationships when it comes to marketing to mothers. Today more than ever, taking the time to establish meaningful relationships is imperative, particularly with mommy bloggers. The backlash that can occur when public relations and marketing agencies don’t take the time to get to know their target consumers has been well chronicled online in blog posts, tweets and social networks. Nothing can ignite the fuse between bloggers and marketers faster than an irrelevant press release or pitch sent blindly to a mom blogger. The marketing world seems to have learned from the mistakes of peers and recently made more attempts to learn something about the mom behind the blog. However, there is still a long road to go in getting it right.
The mistake I see marketers currently making lies in trusting the definition of “relationship” when their agencies say, “we have a relationships with bloggers.” What does this really mean? What kind of relationship? Does it mean that the blogger accepts email from the agency or does it mean they actually know the blogger by her first name? I find, as an objective observer, that the definition of “relationship” differs greatly from agency to agency and project to project. Let’s face it. Your agency knows that mommy bloggers are hot. They know you want the buzz a few good posts can provide and they want to please you, their client. All too often, I hear, “we have relationships” only to find out later that the “relationship” doesn’t even include knowing the topics that the mommy blogger addresses.
Recently, a company asked me to look over a list of bloggers their agency had recommended to them. Bloggers the agency apparently had relationships with. Two blogs on the list didn’t even exist anymore because I personally know the women who folded them. Another had the wrong contact name attached to it. Another was the name of a blog that is actually a network of over 50 mom bloggers. Does this mean they have a relationship with all 50 mom bloggers?
I will be the first to admit that it is time consuming to maintain a relationship with hundreds of mommy bloggers. I know this first hand. I have a relationship with over 700 of them. However, that relationship is maintained on different levels. Some I only know by name and content while others invite me to their baby showers. It’s sometime a point of necessity to leverage the relationships of others; however, as a marketer who owns your brand, its just as important to define the relationship you are leveraging. Take the time to ask some of the following questions of your agency:
- How long have you known this blogger?
- Have you worked with her before?
- What are the topics and characteristics of her blog that make her a good fit for my brand?
- How often do you use her for your programs? Is she willing to do so much so often?
- What are the ages of her children?
- How active are her readers? Do they engage with comments?
If they can’t answer at least a few of these questions, you should question their level of relationship with their suggested mommy bloggers. The level of relationship between the mommy blogger and the company is directly proportional to the level of results you will gain through your marketing efforts.