What’s the Motive?

We just started working with a business in Spain that markets and distributes hand-painted glassware.

They make a beautiful product.

And over the last few years, they’ve accumulated more than 6,000 reviews and a decent-sized list of customers who love their product. About a month ago, the founder contacted me, because the time is now ripe for them to start marketing to their list of past customers and turn it into a new stream of dependable revenue.

(Interestingly, he was subscribed to one of our clients’ lists, and had been receiving my emails for a few years. That’s how we came to know each other.)

Anyway, there’s a reason why I’m telling you about this new project:

Often, when I suggest our kind of relationship marketing to a business that sells tangible goods, they’ll say something like, “How can we use email marketing to sell glassware? Nobody wants to read weekly emails about a product.”

There is some truth to this.

However, as you might expect from me now, there’s also a twist.

Yes, it’s true. Most people don’t want to receive regular emails about wine glasses. That’s because nobody really cares about a wine glass – at least not much – not even the kind of people who buy hand-painted glassware online and leave raving reviews.

Here’s the thing, though:

Behind many tangible products, including hand-crafted glassware, there is an intangible motive, and it’s often something people care about deeply.

This motive is unspoken, and it goes far deeper than the notion of utility or advantage (e.g. “drink wine from a nice glass”). It is often related to an identity that your customer aspires to (e.g. “show my friends that I have sophisticated taste and that I’m well travelled”) or their self-esteem. Needless to say, we must tread carefully.

If your emails can speak to this motive in a way that is tasteful, interesting, and entertaining – in a way that enriches your customer’s life, even if just for a few minutes – people won’t just read your emails; they will value them.

This sounds like a small thing, but it’s not.

When your customers value your marketing, then not only do you have a licence to print cash, but you also have a moat around your brand. Because very few of your competitors, if any, have that kind of relationship with their customers.

Leave A Comment