Spam is obviously a fact of life these days, but I can’t help but notice a subtle increase in the amount of unsolicited email hitting my work inbox.
And it’s not just the quantity that is grabbing my attention, but the content too.
You see, this isn’t the usual Viagra or Rolex material but people – I’m guessing salespeople – desparately trying to hit their lead generation quota.
Now I have every sympathy for anyone trying to make a decent living in such uncertain times, but sending unsolicited and untargeted email actually has two effects on me.
Firstly, it’s annoying. Business-to-business marketers think they can get away with email marketing tactics that have been pretty much outlawed for self-respecting business-to-consumer equivalents. Even in this market (the UK) there are some gaping loopholes that allow emails marketing products and services to other businesses a free ride. If we don’t have a relationship that I initiated, then you shouldn’t be sending my email. Period.
Secondly, it’s irrelevant. By casting your net wider I pretty much guarantee that your response ratio will drop. I have no plans to review my developer headcount (none suits fine, right now) or upgrade my IP telephony. Just because your product might save me money doesn’t mean I’m going to be hitting that reply button.
Business-to-business marketing needs to learn a few lessons from its consumer marketing brethren, and realise that its market is in control when times get tough. And that means spending less time selling, and more time listening.