Bosco is a rescue dog who came to us last summer. he'd been nearly starved to death and you could see his ribs from across the room. you'd think that would've made him a mean, aggressive dog (ask anyone who knows me well about how i get when there's no chow), but he's really a very sweet creature -- in fact, almost overly so. he has what, in dog training parlance, are sometimes called "attachment isssues."
this means he sometimes is a giant pain in the ass, like when you've got a giant basket of laundry in your hands and he gets under your feet, and both you and the laundry go flying. or when you step outside for a minute and he nearly commits doggie suicide by attempting to jump over the 2nd-level deck railing. or when you're on the phone on a very important conference call, and he decides he needs to sit in your lap RIGHT THEN. did i mention that the act of covering the afore-mentioned ribs has made him an 80-lb dog? he cannot actually fit in my lap, but that doesn't keep him from trying.
i love this dog desperately, but he just wants to be too close. and this, dear readers, is where i'm going with today's post. often in marketing, you hear people say "we've got to stay close to our customers." and as a general rule and correctly practiced, that's ok. it means we need to be keeping our eyes open on their behalf, checking in with them occasionally, and absolutely being there for them when they need something, asap or sooner. it does not mean we should be stalking them, following up unnecessarily, or pestering them with repeated requests for lunch or drinks, no matter how big our expense budgets are. or putting our giant doggy head underneath the elbow that's holding the coffee cup and making a big mess of the kitchen table.
it also means we shouldn't be purporting to give them something for free when really it's not free at all. earlier today, i wanted to download a "complimentary" document from the website of a firm with whom i've done business in the past, which is why i'm on their email list. (and by the way, they sort of abuse the privilege of emailing me, but that's for another post.) so i click on the link, expecting to get the "free" document, and see one of these ubiquitous contact form things that wants to know my name, my company, etc. this is annoying for at least 2 reasons:
- I AM A CUSTOMER. shouldn't they already know my name, address, etc? i'm on their frigging email list, for goodness sakes. why are they asking me to spend my time giving them info they already have? if my time is money, then is the document really free? or does it cost, actually, the amount of money represented by the amount of time it takes me to fill in their stupid contact form?
- even if i weren't a customer, it's disingenuous to call the document "free" when i have to give them something of value to get it. i suppose they don't think of my personal info as having "value" -- except when they're attempting to quantify the value of the "free document" program to their superiors -- but still, it pisses me off, and that doesn't really work to their benefit, does it? even Bosco can tell you that the cookies are not likely to come out when i'm in this particular mental state.