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Don't Interrupt - It's Not Polite

by Doug Davidoff | Sep 5, 2006 12:09:06 PM

I am a raving fan of a coaching company that I have been a client of for more than eight years. I've referred a significant amount of business to them; and I've been a reference for many more.

Over the past year, this company has undergone some strategic planning that has focused on increasing their complementary offerings. I know this, not because I am the consultant, but because the frequency with which I've been 'marketed at' has increased significantly. Phone calls, e-mails, direct mail, even faxes. All offering more stuff for me to buy; or to refer to others.

Today, I got a phone call and an e-mail 'letting me know' about some of their upcoming programs. I hate to say this, but it felt a bit like the 'courtesy calls' I get from my credit card company.

I'm all for this company increasing its business. I'm happy to help in whatever way I can - BUT DON'T INTERRUPT ME! It's gotten out of hand, and frankly it is making me less of a fan.

This is a company that I engage with several times a year. There are plenty of opportunities to make me aware of their offerings, ask me for my help, and for referrals. This company has no need to resort to such traditional interruption-oriented methods.

This approach requires more nuance than the traditional approach does. It's not as easy to track as a campaign that focuses on the number of calls, or e-mails, sent on a particular offering. These traditional approaches rely on myths.

This company is not alone. I've noticed an increase in the interruption marketing techniques from organizations that I buy from. It's a dangerous strategy for a company. Why? The danger is that if you implement interruption marketing tactics to a happy client base, you'll see immediate results. You'll think it's working. However, that success will be at the expense of the 'trust-equity' that you have built. Not a worthy trade.

What should you do? The same thing you should do with prospects - always make sure your marketing communication creates value. This does not mean that you should not market to you existing client base - you should. They are your best market. You should just do it with respect.