Don’t be creepy with your content marketing efforts

The other day I got an email newsletter from an industry supplier we work with from time to time. It was the usual newsletter format — eye-catching headline, followed by a brief description and a link to their website to read more. Well, my interest was piqued, and I clicked through to read an article. 

Not more than two hours later, I received an email from an internal sales person at the supplier saying she saw I checked out an article in the newsletter and wanted to know whether I would like to schedule a demo. My response back to her email was, “creepy… just saying…” I hit “send" and moved on with my day. A couple of minutes later, I was greeted with another email from the supplier. This time, an out-of-office response.  

As it turns out, the whole follow-up process was being done by an automated content marketing management platform. While that makes me feel better about said organization, it doesn’t make this aggressive, creepy approach okay. 

At some point, a team of people sat down and came up a lead management process that would show a quick and “humanized response" to a potential customer. While this process seems good in theory, it sure didn’t come off that way in practice. 

Tracking a potential customer’s every movement on your website doesn’t give you permission ask to sell that person something. It’s like asking a complete stranger for a date because he or she looked at you in the produce section at the grocery store. Maybe (and, that’s a big maybe) you’ll get the occasional phone number from that approach, but it will turn off the majority of people.

Just because a software program supplies real-time engagement data and the ability to quickly send a probing follow-up response doesn’t mean any marketing team should be doing it. Make sure you, the human, is making decisions about the way you market, not a software program. 

Now I want to make one thing clear: I’m not badmouthing content marketing management software. I think programs like Hubspot and Infusionsoft are wonderful — expensive, too. Just like any tool, it’s not the tool’s fault when someone does something bad with it.  

My advice: Content marketing should focus on getting people to raise their hand and say, “Tell me more about your product or service.” It’s a long game, but it's better than coming across as creepy when you try to take shortcuts.  

Don’t be that creep!