Still on about the porcupines and examining how marketers can turn perfectly lovely people (Bunnies) into angry, demanding, rude monsters that our customer service people have to shoot. Last post we looked at the role ignoring someone can play in shoving them over the edge. Today I want to look at the second thing we can do to make a porcupine: Corner someone.
Hunters & Trappers:
Salespeople like to use hunting as a metaphor for what they do. They like the notion of creeping about in camouflage pants with bright orange hats, stalking their quarry through the brush then carefully taking aim at their exposed budget and squeezing off a kill shot just in time to get to the gym before dinner.
Marketers, though we would never, ever admit it, approach things more like trappers. We go out early, set our trap lines along the river bank, the game trail or the nearest trade show aisle and then go back to bed until we hear the jaws snap shut around something’s leg. Because this is messy and cruel, we call sales to come deal with whatever we have caught.
Worse still, though, we sometimes do what good hunters try to avoid and that’s cornering the poor critters. If you’ve ever had a less-than-ideal encounter with your neighbour’s cat in a dark garage, you know that even something fluffy named Mr. Sparkles can turn pretty ugly if it’s cornered. Here are some ways we corner our poor customers and prospects.
The Attack of the Boring and Irrelevant
Content marketing is not new but now that it has a spiffy name like database marketing we’re all about it. And it’s not a bad thing: educating your market about your area of expertise is a great way to stake out a leadership position. Educating your customers and end users about how to drive more value from your products will reward you when the Churn Fairy comes calling. But sometimes we forget that all content is not good content and that good content isn’t necessarily relevant.
More and more lately B2B marketers are flinging random content at their prospects. The apparently harmless act of downloading a white paper or signing up for a newsletter is as likely as not to condemn one to a lifetime of webinar notices, seminar invitations, more white papers, more newsletters and, heaven help us, press releases.
Where did we get the idea that because someone downloads a whitepaper on network security they must necessarily want one on employee benefits? Attending a webinar is not sending a signal to the universe to send invitations to hundreds of others; it’s suggesting a willingness to give up an hour to learn more about a given topic. That’s all.
And on that endless rant of mine about not being set up to not do things: marketers need to do a much better job of managing their unsubscribe functions. How many things have you unsubscribed from that never stop coming?
I’m conducting an experiment with two companies just now. The first, Crain Communications, has been refusing to take me off their Automotive News list for almost four years. I unsubscribe so often I should have my own parking spot at their office.
The second is a webinar company that has had me cornered for only a few months but whose stuffing of my inbox is pushing me toward porcupinness (porcupinity?). We’re on unsubscribe request number six.
The Attack of the Attacking Attackers
I think smart marketers should stay in touch with people who have expressed interest in their content, but we need to think about what that interest indicates and we need to be respectful of how often we venture into the woods.
I have content in my reading pile that’s older than some of my kids. Reading is time-consuming and something most of us save for the subway, the weekend or a really bad wedding. Marketers need to realize that not everyone gobbles down that brilliant 20 pages on controlling supply chain costs within ten minutes of clicking the icon.
Many of us, on seeing a little download action, behave like we’ve just been told there are yummy animals to eat in the woods over there. We respond by putting on our Elmer Fudd hats and firing at the trees from our open car windows. That’s not marketing, that’s a drive-by shooting. So we need to hold off on adding these poor people to our lists, or we need to use the lead nurturing tools properly to pace the next content push, particularly if this is a new contact.
We should probably also hold off on handing the lead to sales. While sales people are a lot better at running around in the woods with loaded weapons, and much less of a threat to themselves and the creatures around them, not everything wants to be shot at it. At least not yet.