61 out of 100. That’s the number of Fortune 100 companies that didn’t respond to an email from best selling author David Meerman Scott requesting information.
The big names are astounding: Abbott Labs. Comcast. DuPont. General Dynamics. Ingram Micro. Pfizer. United Technologies.
You can find the full report and analysis in David’s new e-book, Real-Time: How Marketing and PR at Speed Drives Measureable Success (and his new book, Real-Time Marketing and PR, a MUST READ).
One could argue that these multi-national companies are too big to respond to an email from a book author. After all, they’ve got so many more important things to do. And besides, anything can go wrong with an email, as I’ve learned when people say they’ve sent me email but I never received it.
I’m sure a few of the 100 emails David sent didn’t reach their intended recipient. But still, 61 out of 100 – that’s almost two-thirds of Fortune 100 companies that didn’t respond to a simple email.
As David points out after analyzing the Fortune 100 and their stock prices, the ROI of real-time engagement with customers, media, and prospects is glaringly apparent:
Fortune 100 companies that engage in real-time beat the S&P 500 while others, on average, underperformed the index.
Not answering an email from an author who writes about marketing and PR in the Internet age not only makes you look bad, it costs you money.
This holds true for small and mid-sized companies, too. I’ve heard horror stories of small companies who send all Web inquiries to an email address that rarely gets checked. In fact, I had an electrician to my house a couple of weeks ago who said that the email on his Website doesn’t work. (But he’s so busy, he didn’t seem to care, which is a shame.)
Email is a pain in the butt, but . . .
Look, I know email is a pain. I’ll be the first to admit that I struggle with keeping up with it. And sometimes things do fall through the cracks and to my horror I’ll realize I haven’t returned someone’s inquiry in a timely manner.
Unlike our Big League Fortune 100 cousins, however, we small business owners really have no excuse. And due to our size, the performance expectation is higher. I don’t expect an answer from a big company. I do expect to get one from a small company — and fast.
When you build a Website, you’re basically building a path to your business that anyone in the world can use to get to you. This path is used by spammers, clueless PR people, vendors who want your business — and prospects interested in your offerings.
This means that instead of keeping people at arm’s length via a contact form, which I often see companies do, you have to make it easy for people to contact you. This is why I think small B2B companies should post their phone numbers and email addresses on every single page of a Website (rather than just the Contact Us page).
When people do contact you (and I’m talking about real people, not spammers), return the favor and reply back to them. Who knows, you could end up a with a sale (which is what happens for me on a regular basis) or you may get a good write-up about your company in a book, blog post or news article, as the following examples show:
Does Your B2B Website Need a Facelift? — An interview with Samuel Greengard of ChannelPro SMB.
Are Customer Testimonials Smart Marketing Tools? — An interview with Lisa LaMotta of Forbes.com
Personal Branding Through the Eyes of a B2B Marketer — An interview with Dan Schawbel.
What do you think? Have you had a company respond to you in real time via email or Twitter? How do you feel when you call a company and get a “real” person answering the phone instead of voice mail? I’d love to hear your stories.