Yesterday I read a blog post on the Copyblogger site that frankly disturbed me.
The post entitled “How to Improve Your Image by Not Delivering” represents a “racheting down” in how we view customersÂ on the Internet. The central premise of the post is that it’s okay to delay a promise made to deliver a white paper to a customer when they sign up for a newsletter or blog because the marketer can add an extra email message indicating that the paper will be sent at a later time. The idea is that this approach ultimately increases mindshare with the customer.
I see this approach as somewhat exploitive and selfish.Â
What the post is saying is that it’s okay to abuse a customers valuable time and increase the longing for the deliverable. This delay will make them want the white paper all the more, and build some greater asteem for the marketer. This viewpoint reduces a customer to that of an automatron, no longer human, but now a robot that can be exploited and manipulated to achieve some greater marketing advantage. While some may view this issue as “small potatoes”, it’s another example of why many people are turned off by the Internet.
Does everything Internet-related have to be overly scrutinized, dissected, and inspected to gain some minute advantage? Has the simple act of sending a promised deliverable to a customer if they sign up for a newsletter or blog have to be exploited to the fullest in order to gain someÂ incremental exposure?
Is there a cost to such behavior? I think there is.
Many users on the Internet don’t always tell you what is on their minds, especially if it’s negative feedback. Instead, they vote with their wallets, participation,Â and subscriptions. The practice of not responding toÂ anÂ email message is a good example of this “passive-aggressive” style of behavior on the Internet.
The regular practice of this type of marketing activity will only result in leaving a bad impression in the consumers mind. Over time this can only serve to minimize whatever incremental gains may have been made by the additional email message and the delayed fulfillment.
Am I off my rocker here? How would you feel if you were expecting to receive a white paper once you signed up for an online newsletter or blog, only to be told it was coming at a later time and you had to wait for it?
Please let me know. If I don’t hear from you, then I will assume you find this marketing approach acceptable in our highly competitive Internet age.