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Marketer, Do You Know Your Target?

From the Annoying Sales and Marketing File: A sales rep emailed me and, in an overfamiliar, cheeky tone, implied that I was in default for not responding to an earlier message. This, despite the fact that we had no prior relationship. Would you find this situation as annoying as I do?

And would it aggravate you even further, the way it did me, that the rep hadn’t even bothered to check for accuracy, thereby committing that most grievous of all marketing errors: not getting my name right?

“Cold” Communication Under the Microscope

Turns out that I had ignored all his previous emails because the inaccurate business name in the subject line made me think they were spam! Here’s the series of offending emails as written, except that I anonymized the culprit rep and his company.

I highlighted the overly familiar sections, which assume a nonexistent relationship, to see if you agree with my assessment — and to convince you never to wander into this kind of marketing territory yourself, whether you’re doing B2B, B2C, or nonprofit marketing.


Then, just a couple of days later…


And a week after that…


Next came this message, midweek, with Marketing Rep perhaps trying to seem even more in haste than usual, since it’s marked as coming from his phone.


The Illusion of Warmth

Finally, a brand new thread arrived with the provocative subject line “white flag?” (sic).


Since I actually liked the thought of surrender in this last message, here’s what I wrote to the cheeky fellow in reply (sounding a little bit irritated?):

Marketer, since you’re selling performance management, perhaps I could give you some feedback?

It is so clear that you’ve been sending “cold” communications because you haven’t even checked to know that you’re using the equivalent of my White Pages listing instead of my actual business name. So I haven’t had any interest at all in speaking with you on a relationship basis.

Now, since I’ve yelled at you — and the only reason I interacted at all is because your “white flag” subject line caught my eye, so good for you in that regard — let me also explain that my small management consultancy approaches goal setting, alignment, and performance management with my single part-time employee in traditional teeny company fashion: scattershot, lovingly, and reasonably effectively. In fact, given some of the consulting services that I provide, I could actually consider your company a competitor.

That’s probably more than you wanted to know, and it may not be helpful, given whatever your goals are.

Wishing you a good weekend –


Come in from the Cold

Perhaps not so surprisingly, Marketing Rep never wrote to me again! But I’d be happy if you emailed me, and let me know if you think I was too snarky or came down on him too hard.

Yes, as marketers, we all need to stand out and get our messages read. But please, before you embark on cold communications, take two crucial first steps, the same way you would (and should) if you meet at a social or networking event.

First, get the name right. And second, remember that if you want something from the other person, it helps to make the interaction about them, with respect and a sense of benefits — not just about you and your needs!

Onward and upward,


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