Robert DeNiro called me today. Or as his friends call him, Bobby.
Of course, I don’t call him Bobby because I’m not his friend. We’ve never met. He was calling to promote a politician. And it wasn’t really him, it was a tape. And I don’t know which politician because I hung up.
I’ve gotten dozens of phone calls over the last few weeks, including one just now from an eager fundraiser named Barbara. She explained that she’d even read my books, including Permission Marketing. "Even the part about spam?" I asked. I don’t think she got the point.
The point, folks, is that with all these strangers calling me, interrupting my day, giving me unanticipated, impersonal, irrelevant come-ons, not one person I know personally has called me. And not one of the callers has tried to enlist me to call my friends.
One call from a friend is worth 100 calls from an Academy-Award winner on tape.
The mistake politicians, like most marketers, make is that they think that what they are doing is way too important. Too important to leave to citizens. Too important to leave to ordinary people who happen to be big fans with organic, authentic networks of trusted friends. Too important to respect social boundaries.
If you’re in too much of a hurry to build a real network, you’re probably in too much of a hurry to get elected.