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January 2011


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Steve Gershik

Hi David,

First of all, you'd be shocked at how much the blog knows about you. We'll just keep it between us, for now.

More frequent than unsubscribing to a company's email is the psychological unsubscribe that takes place when people get the wrong information from the wrong organization at the wrong time.

I agree with you that many customers have been desensitized to this intrusion into their busy days -- they regularly lie on these forms we've set up to capture information, creating a hard cost to companies who now need to clean and screen the data.

It's way to easy to put up a form with too many fields. It's harder to practice "progressive profiling," where information is exchanged with the prospect in interactions of increasing value. For example, I might ask for your email address to begin the conversation, and later on ask for your industry in exchange for promising to give you content relevant to your vertical.

As customer expectations about their experience online gets ratcheted up, companies must increase the sophistication of their marketing or risk spending more and more money for increasingly unsatisfactory results.

Oh, and that widow from Nigera? She wants you to know that in exchange for your small investment of a thousand dollars, she'll also make sure someone shovels the snow from in front of your place.

David Raab

Hi Steve,

I quite agree that this form asks for too much information. But I wonder if the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, of potential buyers "hiding" from vendors as long as possible. How much "emotional hassle" is really involved in unsubscribing from a company's email? I mean, I can turn down a Nigerian widow easily enough. Surely we've been desensitized to the point where this doesn't matter, or we've set up fake email addresses for exactly this purpose.

(On the other hand, I've just been creeped out by the fact that your blog knows my name, email and URL without me entering it or, so far as I recall, ever having commented here before. How'd that happen? What else do you know about me?)

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  • Steve Gershik has been a VP of Marketing and demand generation leader for over 18 years. He frequently writes and speaks about marketing automation, brand management, demand generation and Internet marketing.

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