How much is too much?


I saw these two posts, indirectly saying that marketing automation tools can push the envelope into stalker territory at BeRelevant and B2B Marketing ROI. So why do we, as marketers, want this info anyway?

I hope that my customers will appreciate a few hints to look at the things they are more interested in, and that my salespeople will use this extra info to guide their interactions with prospects. I personally get excited when someone catches my attention with the exact piece of info I need. Pandora, hits me with a song I love based on the characteristics of the other ones I like.

Do B2B end-users feel the same? I don’t know about you, but my work day is really busy. Anything to cut down on my research time, or info seeking time would give me more time to work productively. Why look for something if it can find me? In obtrusively of course. And I should be able to request removal at any time. with no complaints.

I’d rather sort through targeted emails than unsolicited cold calls. But I’ll admit, if someone told me they noticed I spent 6 minutes looking at their product page, 10 minutes reading white papers and 2 minutes ready the press release library, I think I would be creeped out.

So how can we use this deluge of data effectively without being stalker marketers?

If someone mentions to me, “we have a couple of new white papers you may be interested in on topic X, and our current product has recently updated to support technology Y that is covered in the white paper P.” And hopefully, based on my behavior, they should know I am interested in 2 out 3 of those items.

One common tactic across marketing groups is to add any email we get to our email communications. Just by starting to collect more info our contacts we’ll be able to be more relevant in our communications, we’ll look more like advisers.

2 thoughts on “How much is too much?

  1. I think you have it just right: it’s all in how the information is used.

    These days, all marketers have access to a scary amount of information on all of us.

    How would it feel if you got a direct mail credit card offer that said: “Hey Joe, we know you make $58k a year, like sailing and golf, have 2 kids in the home, have a credit score of 68, subscribe to forbes and fast company, owe 280k on your home, drive a ford and vote republican… based on all that, we think you should get our card!”

    Actually doing this would be a piece of cake for any marketer with a decent list broker. But marketers don’t send that piece, because they know better.

    Online, it’s no different. Now, we have access to tools like ours that can show you exactly who’s on your site, when, and what they did when they were there.

    But does that mean you should have a sales rep notified every time a prospect hits the site? Restraint is in order, obviously.

    That said, we have a client who is pushing the limits and getting really outrageous results with, of all things, activity triggered voice broadcast.

    Prospect hits a particular high-value sales page, and otherwise qualifies as a real lead, their phone rings: ‘Hi, sorry for the interruption, but many of our clients who are considering (high-priced item x) have specific questions that are best answered by one of our specialists… if you’d like to speak with one now, push 1.’

    To me that’s real close to – if not over – the line. But the results this company is getting are really outrageous: almost tripling conversions on these products since adding voice broadcast.

    So, ‘the line’ is obviously personal…

  2. I definitely agree with you from the B2B org’s angle. I also think that marketing automation benefits the end prospect as well. Ideally, if a prospect receives a low score (from showing little implicit interest by not doing much on a website) or receives a low grade (by not fitting the ideal customer profile), he or she would not get a sales call. Without any type of system in place, the sales reps have to make their own judgment calls and probably wind up calling plenty of people who have absolutely no interest in their offerings.

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