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B2B Marketing – The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

Chris Brogan’s mass unfollowing of 131,000 Twitter followers registered higher on the Richter Scale than the recent earthquake back east.

In short, he was drowning in unsolicited spam and direct messages.  There was a lot of reaction.  There was shrill hysteria.  But I understand where the poor guy is coming from.

I have a landline phone.  Approximately three years ago, I began the habit of keeping it unplugged until I was ready to use it.  Why?  Because even though it is listed on the Do Not Call Registry, I was getting a dozen calls a day from businesses with whom I had a relationship trying to sell me additional services.  Bank of America being one of the most tenacious suitors.  I’d say no on Monday and they’d call again on Tuesday.

I tried to explain that I didn’t want the calls – could they please take me off the list.  No.  I would have to go to a website or call an 800 number or jump through any number of hoops to make them go away.

I just grew weary.  And it was easier to unplug the phone than to try to weed these calls out one by one.  A couple of babies went out with the bath water, but sadly, I can live with that.  The needle on the hassle factor was constantly in the red.  I get the sense that’s where Brogan was when he made his decision.

My reason for bringing this up is that the Brogan episode should give marketers and business owners pause.  How are we treating our target audience?

The numbers game approach – if I’m looking at a 0.5 response rate, I will get more leads if I email 5,000 contacts than 1,000 contacts – is a mirage.   It provides activity, which can be mistaken for productivity, but is it effective?

Usually business owners will tell me that if they can meet with someone and have a good conversation, they can hope to see either future business or referrals down the line.  No big surprise.  When you are dealing with an individual you are focused on them (not blasting them) and taking the time to respond to their unique business challenges (rather than a one-size-fits-all message).  So why not take that approach with your other marketing vehicles and platforms?

I have a sneaking suspicion that more and more people will be unplugging, unfollowing, and hitting the spam button.  What do you think?

Copyright © 2011 Dawn Westerberg Consulting

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