The endless circle of marketing

Posted on October 9, 2013


bad marketing practices
If you’ve read any of my posts, you know that I love going to conferences and learning new things. I will be going to the Inbound Marketing Summit Boston in a few weeks.

As I went through the somewhat onerous registration process, I got to thinking that my rant would make a good blog post. I attend several conferences each year and the registration is the same for all. The registration section is easy to find and this is a good thing.

Now about those registration forms. . .

Name – okay, I get they need that.

Email – okay, I get they need that.

Company – I’m not so sure about this one. Is it anyone’s business where I work?

Address – now wait a minute. Why on earth do they need my address? It’s so they can send me annoying junk mail. If an organization wanted demographic information, they can just ask for zip code or state.

Phone number – Why on earth do they need this? So they can call me with product pitches?

Needless to say I never put in my real address or phone number.

Sometimes there is a little check box at the end of the registration where you can indicate you don’t want to “receive important product offers from our trusted partners.” This sounds good in theory, however I always get annoying emails even if I’ve checked the box. Why bother putting this on the form if you aren’t going to honor it?

Registration complete and let the fun begin. The spam emails start arriving from the conference sponsors or vendors. Sometimes there is an unsubscribe link, but it is in the tiniest print, hidden at the bottom of the email. Half the time the unsubscribe doesn’t work. I always call the company on that and the response inevitably is, “Oh, you must be on another list and that’s why you keep getting emails.” What? You are one company, I have no clue how I got on your stupid list, but I want to be taken off ALL the lists. Is that so hard?

My favorite emails are those that say,

“Hi Nancy,

I have left you several voice messages and but I wanted to touch base with you. Blah, blah, blah.”

You are a liar, plain and simple. I gave you a non-working phone number, so I know there is no way you could have left me a message. Why on earth would I want to do business with a liar?

I understand that conference sponsors and vendors want to collect names of potential customers. I guess they have never heard of “permission-based marketing.” At a minimum, send a short and pleasant email to those WHO HAVE OPTED IN TO RECEIVE EMAILS and ask them to confirm they want to receive emails.

The fixes for these annoyances are quite simple.

1. Simple registration forms.

Only ask for name, email, and general demographic info.

2. Permission-based marketing.

Companies should only send emails to people who have specifically asked to receive information. Maybe the email list would be smaller, but it would be a list of people who are really interested in a company’s products.

For those companies that make the effort and time to do permission based, they have a big competitive advantage.

Okay rant over. What about you? What annoys you about marketing?

Scary photo is courtesy of Dan4th Nicholas’ Flickr Photostream, under Creative Commons licensing.