Your Marketing Is Driving Me Away!


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Every day, I receive somewhere between 150-200 emails–“valid emails,” not the hundreds that flow directly into my junk mail folder.  About 50% of them are client/colleague communications, emails about something I have a direct interest in, or are directly work related messages.  Things important to what I’m working on and my company.  About 50% of them are prospecting or other marketing communications emails.

Translated, that means people and companies are trying to reach out and “touch” me about 75-100 times every day (Yuck, maybe I need a bigger bottle of Purell on my desk).

It’s overwhelming!  When I take the time to skim the titles and read them, the majority (95%) are meaningless.

But it’s worse.  Most of those emails that get to my Inbox are from new correspondents.  As part of may handling of these emails, I set up rules to automatically handle and protect me from escalating volume.  Those that make it into my inbox from people I have never heard from before are Spammed.  Hopefully, all future emails go into my junk mail folder and I never see them again.

There are some that I consider “valid.”  For example, I’ve requested information in the past, perhaps a white paper or a report.  I know, by downloading a white paper, I trigger a lot of prospecting calls and some follow up emails.  I ignore all of those.  I also know that by downloading something, I’m immediately “opted” into every list the organization has.  I set rules to delete based on the subject/content, or the rules direct them into a folder to read when I am totally bored and have absolutely nothing do and no better way to use my time.  You can guess how often I look at those folders.

I also make sure that my processing rules never mark something as “read.”  I want to minimize the triggers that might cause the deluge to increase.  If I can’t prevent the first contact or two, I want to protect myself from the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, 25th, 100th email message.

I do all of this purely out of survival.  If I didn’t set processing rules like these, I would be overwhelmed.  The volume of emails that get into my inbox would sky rocket, my ability to see the important emails would be challenged and I would lose huge amounts of time filtering through my inbox, just to find the important stuff.

Ironically, most of these emails are from Sales and Marketing Automation vendors.  The one’s that are offering tools to increase our abilities to reach the right customers at the right time with meaningful, impactful, relevant messages.

As I look at these, I wonder, “Do they use their own tools themselves?”

For example, I get almost daily communications from a major marketing automation vendor.  You know the kind–they analyze the content being consumed, look at new relevant content, score your engagement, nurture you and build your interest.  I downloaded one white paper from them several years ago.  I never visit their web site.  Yet, I get every new product announcement, every announcement of a white paper, every webinar —– everything!!  Most of it is never related to the original white paper I downloaded, so I wonder, “What are they seeing that tells them I’m interested?”  In reality, I don’t think they are doing anything other than deluging their mailing lists.  This causes me to wonder, why use their product?

I don’t want to pick on them.  No one else is better.

I know these companies want to keep my awareness up.  They’re afraid if I need a tool, I may forget about them and not contact them.  That’s valid.  We’ve done research and found a key reason companies don’t get repeat sales is the customer “forgot” they had bought from them before.  So I get the issue.  But do I need to be reminded about you and your products every day?  Several times a week?  Every week?

Odds are, if I’m not interested in assessing sales automation tools today, I’m not likely to be interested tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or even next week.  So why do these companies feel the urge to reach out so frequently?

I wonder about relevance.  All these messages are addressed to me as a potential customer.  We’re a small customer.  There are only 15 of us (plus some in an extended network).  While we are power users of a lot of tools, we will never be a big customer.  Additionally, the revenue you might get from us, pales in comparison to the revenue we might influence.  Last year alone, I know we influenced over $50M in CRM sales, not to mention other tools.  But very few of the communications are addressed to me as an influencer.  They don’t tell me how I can help my client, they are focused on getting me to be a customer.  I suppose, if I took the time, I could figure it out myself—- I’m certainly not as dumb as I look–but it’s not my job to figure that out.  But it would be far more interesting and relevant if the communications were about how I could help my clients.

The volume and frequency makes me wonder about the companies themselves.  Why do they have to send, so frequently, to so many?  Are they not generating enough leads?  Is the effectiveness of their marketing and content programs poor?  For the leads they are generating, are they not getting the sales they should be getting?  Is there something wrong with them or their products?  Why are they so desperate to be wanting to touch me so frequently?

In the end, most of the communication I’m subjected too doesn’t even fall on deaf ears–it’s never seen.  Escalating the volume and frequency doesn’t work.  It drives me away, it creates a negative response rather than building your credibility and my interest.

The most impactful messages aren’t the most frequent ones.  They are personalized to my interests or the things I should be interested in.  They are very focused, relevant, provocative and usually timely.  When I respond, I don’t get deluged with additional stuff, but I get a response that’s relevant and creates value.  And I’m not automatically enrolled in lots of meaningless messages.

I’m not alone.  In fact, I probably pay more attention to these emails than most of my clients.  They just don’t care.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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