Marketing Pet Peeves

By: Lori T. Williams, Owner/Managing Attorney of Your Legal Resource

I asked some of my readers and network contacts what marketing tactics annoyed them, and listed them for you below.  Feel free to reply with your own marketing pet peeves.

1.   Unsubscribe from my newsletter, but send me yours

Gotta love that one!  Doesn’t everybody want a one way relationship?

2.  Confuse Marketing with Sales

If you are at a networking event, just be normal and talk to people.  Be interested in them.  Don’t start selling to someone before you know who they are, and what their business is about, and what interests them.   And if somehow you do end up doing some self promoting, if they aren’t showing any signs of interest, stop selling!

3.  Disrespect other people’s time

Hopefully cold calling will one day disappear, but until then perhaps those who do it can start to get good at it and realize that those they are interrupting have other things going on.  If you are lucky enough to get a moment of their time, be brief, mention one value proposition (i.e. of value to the person you are calling), respect their time, and try to set up a convenient time to talk.  One colleague mentioned that a cold caller got upset because he hadn’t reviewed their unsolicited information yet.

Another pet peeve noted was when the same company calls you or emails you twice in the same day, after you’ve already said no the first time.  No does mean no!  One person suggested medication or hospitalization for those that don’t understand this.  The auto generated calls are particularly annoying to me.  You used to be able to see them coming when these callers only used 800 or 888 numbers, but now they can make it look like it’s a local call. If you do happen to pick up, you usually get the delay before anyone speaks.  It’s in that moment that I usually hang up because I know what’s next — an unwanted sales call for something I’m not interested in.

Another person mentioned that they don’t like it when events start or end after the allocated time.  Respecting other people’s time means beginning on time, for those who are there, and not waiting for those who aren’t.  And it means ending on time for those who have appointments after.

A final comment in this category included people you are in business meetings with who continue to  take calls, emails, and text messages during your meeting.  That sends a clear message to the person you are meeting with that they are not as important to you as the other people who you are communicating with.  Be fully present whenever you are talking with someone in person or on the phone, or don’t bother taking the call or meeting.

4. Mass Mail

Don’t you love it when your own bank or credit card company or insurance company tries to solicit your business through a general mailer?  Not a promotion for customers, but a mailer designed to get business.  They already have it!  Is it that hard to cross reference customer lists from prospect lists?  I think they do more damage to their brand when they blatantly acknowledge they don’t know I’m a customer.

If that wasn’t bad enough, another person mentioned they responded to the enticing mailer only to find that the service wasn’t available in their area.

And then there’s the favorite flyer on the windshield.  Nothing like a captive audience at a church parking lot, or busy strip mall.  There’s a coffee shop I frequent in a strip mall, which also contains a dry cleaning establishment.  Every single time I return to my car, there’s the postcard from the drycleaner.  I really want to go in there and say I’m never going to be your customer.

Target market people!  You should try it sometime!

5.  Fail to follow-up 

Nothing destroys credibility faster than failing to honor your word.  Sure we’re all busy, but  are you too busy to be a person of integrity so someone knows if you give your word it is as good as done?  If you say you are going to call at a certain date/time, then call.  If you promise to follow-up with an email or information in the mail, do it!  This is hardly rocket science, but a real differentiator between those you want to do business with and those you don’t.

6.  Fail to ask permission to email promotional material

Meeting someone at a networking event once and exchanging business cards is not implied consent  to be on their email marketing list.  Ask them if you can add them to that list, and allow them the option to unsubscribe from the list, if they choose to do so at some point.

What are your marketing pet peeves?  Give an example of something on or off this list that happened to you.  Or perhaps you learned something new.  What marketing habit will you now give up after reading this list?  Finally, what marketing tactics do you feel work?  Name some that work for you or that you appreciate when others do it.

Lori T. Williams

Lori T. Williams is an attorney based in Birmingham, MI, licensed in 1989.  As owner of a legal referral business called Your Legal Resource, PLLC, Lori personally assists individuals and small businesses in need of legal advice or representation in Metro Detroit by connecting them with the right legal specialist to meet their needs.