Marketing automation is not an excuse for lazy marketing

I was very lucky in being brought up properly – if someone holds the door for me, I say thank you; if someone asks me for a favour, I do my best; and if someone writes to me, I will usually respond.

Secret Marketer

This is true at home, as it is at work. If someone sends me a direct mail/email and they have gone to the trouble of personalising it, I am more likely to respond – usually pointing out the error of their ways in incorrectly thinking that I or my company have any interest in what it is they are selling.

I’m always intrigued with what happens next. Fifty per cent I never hear from again which, while my mother would scoff at their manners, is a result – they have realised they are wasting their time and mine.

Of the remaining, a small number thank me for my time and a similar group try to argue why I am wrong to dismiss them out of hand – some quite indignantly. I had an amusing exchange this week with a New York printer who mailed me suggesting he could meet my printing needs quicker and cheaper than anyone else. I pointed out this was unlikely, given that I am 3,500 miles away. He got shirty, saying that he had spent good money “buying” my email address, and that it was outrageous that my company, which is based in the UK, is using a email address, when as a British company I should be using – should be reserved for US businesses only.

Anyway, back to my main story – around a quarter do contact me again but completely oblivious that I have responded. And this makes me angry. If I have gone to the effort to respond, the least I expect is that the originator will update their CRM system to note this. But no – their marketing automation system assumes that people will not respond – with single digit open rates, and an even lower response rate, their model assumes they will need to follow up.

And this goes back to my age-old complaint that because email is ‘free’, too many marketers ignore the basic principles of marketing and just play the numbers game. This is damaging their brand and, more worryingly, the entire industry. Marketing automation should not be an excuse for lazy marketing.

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