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When marketing, do not annoy your audience

Posted on April 20, 2006 by Kat.

I've been noticing these types of marketing pitches a lot lately, and I think it started with that voicemail:

"This is Mrs. Hamilton, we have urgent business with you that needs your immediate attention.  Please call me at 1-800-blah-blah-blah, for file number yadda-yadda."

Well great, Mrs. Hamilton, except I don't know anyone named Hamilton.  What company are you with again?  Oh, that's right, you didn't tell me.  And this business you have with me is so urgent that you can't tell me what it is.  Caller ID is drawing a blank.  I think you are a telemarketer, so I am going to ignore you.  **DELETE**

Ahh.  Except -- Mrs. Hamilton calls me back.  Repeats the exact same message.  (Oooh, a script.  Yes you are a telemarketer).  I continue to ignore her.  She continues to call back.  I change my outgoing message to state explicitly that I don't return messages that lack a compelling reason to do so.  Now she doesn't even leave a message, just continues to call hoping that I will be fooled by the <unavailable> on the Caller ID.

Here's the thing.  If you can't tell me who you are or why I should want to talk to you, your motives are automatically suspect.

Similarly, there is a print ad campaign going on in the El trains right now.  The ads don't mention a company or product, simply spout off cryptic slogans with a sketch of a yellow-stained pointing finger (the implications of which are kind of disgusting, if you think about it), and "FollowTheFinger.com."  Sarah and I had a recent discussion about how much this irritates the both of us.  What does "Follow the Finger" mean?  This isn't intriguing, it's annoying.  So much so that both of us immediately refused, on principle, to visit the website to learn more.  You're too cool to tell me who you are or what you're selling?  Your motives are automatically suspect.

Obviously, if I'm suspicious of you, if I have my guard up, I'm much less likely to buy what you're selling.  Viral marketing can work, but it helps if I feel like you're being upfront about what you're offering and what you're selling.  In a sense, electronic newsletters are a viral marketing tool, in that you're keeping your company brand in front of your audience without directly asking for anything in return.  Plus there's that handy "Forward to a Friend" button, the ultimate in viral marketing "spread."  And a newsletter that gives me something for my time (information), without trying to hide anything, gives me a lot more motivation to pay attention.

Of course, there's no saving telemarketing.  There's a reason for the National Do Not Call list.  Which makes me wonder why Mrs. Hamilton thinks she should be calling me in the first place.  Grrrrr.

April 20, 2006 in award winning magazine, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, company newsletter, corporate magazine, create a newsletter | Permalink


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Kat neglects to mention that she folded and went to the Follow the Finger website. (Told you I was going to rat you out in a comment, Kat. Haha!)

It's Butterfinger. I haven't gone to the website myself, but Kat said it also took way too long to figure that out once there. Grumble, grumble from me, too.

Posted by: Sarah | Apr 20, 2006 1:33:41 PM

I did not "fold," I was doing research for my post. =) If the website had been anything other than an interactive version of the poster on the El (as in, no obvious brand or product anywhere... I wouldn't have found it had I not been looking for it specifically), I might have brought it up. But believe me, I could rant forever on this, which would have made for a way-too-long post. Don't get me started on the Lamisil ad.

Posted by: Kat | Apr 20, 2006 1:48:13 PM

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