When Drip Marketing Becomes Water Torture

When I first came across drip marketing I loved it. Customer Relationship Marketing, done right, is a value-add to the customer. You tell me things when I want to know them, or before I even knew I wanted to know them because we have a relationship and you know me. That works, that’s valuable. You keep me in the loop, the inside scoop, so I get the deals – I like that. iTunes Genius can be a good example.

But all too often what begins as a way of providing relevant and timely information morphs into incessant, annoyances and before too long they regret ever having signed up for emails and you’ve just lost an evangelist. 

Seth Godin shared a cool example over at myventurepad.com. He wrote

The friction that slows down sending email to everyone all the time is the cost of all the people you’ll lose. You might lose them because they unsubscribe, or more likely, you’ll train them to ignore you. Worse still, you might just make them annoyed enough to badmouth you.

Drugstore.com made two mistakes with their relationship with me. First, they bought the lie that opt-out is a productive strategy. They unilaterally decided that I’d be delighted to get regular emails from them, merely because I bought some shaving cream.

The second mistake? They didn’t bother to be selective about what they sent.

I’ve never purchased diapers online, since my diaper purchases predate online diaper shopping. And my hope is that I won’t be buying Depends for another fifty years or so. Drugstore.com should know this. And yet, because it’s apparently free to email me, some lame brand manager says, “sure, do it!”

Except then I unsubscribe and an asset that is worth ten or a hundred or a thousand dollars disappears, probably forever.”

Drip Marketing done wrong becomes a bareboned version of relationship marketing and quickly loses all of its value to the customer and becomes nothing more than the easily ignored commercials on TV that everyone TiVo’s. 

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