Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Too harsh a marketing lesson?

I received the following note recently. Read this and my response. Then, weigh in. Was I harsh or did I do the young man a favor?

Dear Mr. Epstein,

My name is _____ , and I have just completed my second year at ______ University. I'm now back in Maryland with my family for the summer, and last week I was fortunate to have been able to speak with Mr. _____ at length about his work at _______.

I was fascinated by his explanations of how he utilizes strategic marketing to exploit environmental markets, and he was kind enough to educate me about the marketing industry in general, and how best to pursue a career in it. He heavily recommended that I speak to you about the possibility of obtaining an internship at Sprinklr, and about the marketing industry in general as well.

I did some reading about how Sprinklr's dynamic SIREn platform aids businesses to manage multiple social media channels in a scalable way, and I am highly interested in learning what it is Sprinklr does in detail, and about what it is that you do for them.

I'm also hoping to discover if there are any potential internships at Sprinklr that would fit my skill set and interests, but just by reading your NeverStopMarketing blog and about Sprinklr, I'm certain that the opportunity to speak with you in person would be highly beneficial for the development of my interests and career path. I'm available to meet whenever is convenient for you, and if you prefer to contact me by phone my number is

xxx-xxx-xxxx. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope that you will have the time to talk, but I completely understand if time constraints render that an impossibility.
Thank you for your time.


Here’s what I wrote in response.


Thanks for writing. Appreciate you reaching out.

Your first marketing lesson, whether you intern for Sprinklr/me or not, is something called the "You/I" test.

You should look at your writing and ask yourself: which is used more frequently? "You" or "I/We".  If "you" doesn't win, you should start over.

The second lesson is "relevance."  You wrote a nice email, but your key point is "anything that fits my skill set."  However, you didn't provide any insight as to what, exactly, your skill set is. Nor any URLs for me to investigate, so I have no idea what the answer to the question is.

Now, you have a choice. You can be disheartened by this email and wonder how I can be so harsh and say, "I don't want to work for this jerk," in which case, we both move on.

Or, you can say, "what a great learning opportunity" and come back with an email that shows some real potential as a marketer.


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