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Friday, Jun. 5, 2009 at 8:01 am

Marketer’s Impotence Syndrome

By Bryan Eisenberg
June 5th, 2009

Sometimes you never know.

While cleaning the last remnants of unsolicited and undesirable e-mail from my inbox a few days ago, I had two interesting thoughts. First, spam can actually be good for something. And second, inspiration does indeed strike in uncanny places.

The thoughts started while deleting spam e-mail number 12,874. It was targeting the otherwise happy man who only needs a little help in the sack, offering him the solution in a little blue pill.

Are there really that many men who need that kind of help? Enough to deserve 90 percent of Internet traffic?

Doesn’t seem like spammers are taking any chances. To help men, spammers will find every single one of those guys. And gosh darn it, they will help them by offering an even lower price on these meds.

Sure, a few guys (maybe even a gal or two) will take them up on the offer. But compared to the number of e-mail messages they send out? What do you think the return might be? One in 100,000? One in a million?

Sounds a little impotent to me. It got me thinking about how impotent all our campaigns can be. Just because we aren’t promoting porn, credit report scores, or ED in e-mail blasts doesn’t mean we aren’t engaging in some of the same obnoxious behavior.

Consider your marketing campaign.

It’s like going into a bar (actually more like thousands of bars) and walking up to each girl sight unseen asking for a kiss until you find one willing to give you one.

Spamming is at an all-time high. While the conversion rate is horrible, spammers must be getting some sort of payoff or they wouldn’t bother. Businesses can’t afford to use these tactics and lose the trust and credibility needed to grow in a transparent market.

Elevate your campaign’s quality by avoiding some of the cheapo, spamalicious tactics spammers engage in. Many spammers focus on the perfect pickup line (e-mail subject line or even the top of the message content) that will get them past the bouncers (spam filters) and in the door.

Pickup lines are tired.

Some of the better marketers are focusing their efforts on the first date (the landing page), but like so many first dates, these marketers are only talking about one person the entire time, and it isn’t their date. These marketers are just “wewe-ing” all over themselves. It’s a bit of turn off.

Next, still not willing to take the blame for being bad conversationalists, these chumps resort to trying different designs, colors, and hero images. But the only thing that changes is the outfit; inside it’s still the same selfish page, with copy that drones on and on about the company, never stopping once to ask or acknowledge the visitor’s needs. These marketers feel justified because every once in awhile some bored date will give in and pull out a wallet. But there’s no love, no spark. Just another night in shopping purgatory.

Some marketers are so impotent that they think some pill, like a new technology, a new measuring tool, or a new campaign idea, will get the ladies to fall in love.


It’s much easier to get a lady’s phone number than to win her heart. But what companies are actually aiming for their customers’ hearts? How many are only aiming for the phone number — or worse? How many think it is intelligent business to build a company on one-night stands? Check out how many of the top converting retail Web sites have a strong focus at bringing back customers.

Making customers love you is hard work. You can’t fake it or manufacture it. You have to charm your customer, surprise her by giving more than she expected. Listen more than the other guys (your competitors). Make your conversations about her, not you. Before you know it, you’ll have a lot more visitors genuinely interested in your company. You won’t feel the need to get sleazy for your marketing to actually work.

Have you been guilty of spamming your way into bad relationships? Or have you found a nice formula for customer love?

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Comments (22)

  1. [...] the nature of creativity. Why does creativity matter? Because, as Bryan Eisenberg points out, most marketers suffer from impotence. And not because they have bad ideas for how to promote their product, but because they don’t [...]

  2. [...] bryan eisenberg, email (35), future now,, web site (2) Great post over at Future Now: [...]

  3. Great analogy Bryan. Even from a gal’s perspective.

    I call it bouncing. I run into a web site face first, hit that wall of endless boring text, back away stunned, then turn and run as fast as I can. I’m currently reading “Wired to Care” — it’s also very pertinent to this topic.

  4. This is a good reminder that long term relationship building trumps short term ‘click-to-buy’ campaigns for email success.

  5. Haha, so true! It is a way better investment to grow a list and get to know who the PEOPLE are (yes they are living people, not just email addresses). Always great to follow your list with behavioral based measurement to learn what messages interest specific people.

    I’ve been to, conferences and events where you see people spamming real people by interupting a group of people saying something only about themselve (we-we) and going to the next group of people and interrupting them.

  6. It’s comes down to having respect for your audience – for every step of your campaign one should step back and say how would I feel feel/react if I received/read/viewed this? And particular sensibility is needed if your list is opt-in, especially one built on previous (and presumably happy) customers.

  7. Excellent and “repellent.” Some of us who would NEVER think of ourselves as “that guy” are only too willing embrace the idea of thinking with our… shopping cart….(that’s the ticket!).

    Smart marketers (online and off) think about customer “relationships,” “loyalty,” and eventually even “engagement”– just like most of us hope for in our personal lives.

  8. First time I have heard that spam could be a good thing, I must say.

    But great article…

  9. Your quote “It’s like going into a bar (actually more like thousands of bars) and walking up to each girl sight unseen asking for a kiss until you find one willing to give you one.” ways quite funny.But seriously i sometimes thing that whether these spammers really convert good from these spams if not then why they waste their time in doing so.Maybe they target all the amateur internet users who dont have idea what is a the difference between a spam and a regular mail.There are lot of them some millions over the world.

  10. These spammers are true headaches.I wonder what profit they reap with this kind of spamming techniques.

  11. The most impressive that rather than invest in a proper marketing campaign, such as PPC or SEO, for example, some people prefer to invest in buying lists of emails for up campaigns and email marketing unsolicited and they will spend much more cost , with unsatisfactory results.

  12. I wonder when someone will take notice of information like this. Spam and spam filters often screw up genuine email acceptance into my inbox and this becomes incredibly frustrating. Promotion is of course a great thing and I am fully aware of that but your right about the return for the process. OK perhaps almost all these pill emails and so on are computer generated but do they monitor their results?? 1 reply or purchase to 1 million emails??

  13. I dont know the real story but I’m thinking these people don’t make money from spam, its probably the people who sells spam tools to these kids that makes money. You know the one that has “Make millions without breaking any sweat” on their landing page.

  14. I agree with you, spamming isn’t the way to go. You got to reach your audience and sound credible!

  15. I do agree that the customers would not prefer spamming.

  16. I can’t agree you more
    it is an insightful article
    These kind of spammers are totally terrible.

  17. Really useful. This article will help me a lot. Thank you.

  18. This is a good reminder that long term relationship building trumps short term ‘click-to-buy’ campaigns for email success.

  19. well spaming is such a big headache and it is happen due to internet amrketing to promote a product or inforamtion related to thier wesite. But it should nessary action to reduce email spam.

  20. I guess its the law of averages. If you ask enough people one is bound to yes eventually, i bet the ratio is high though

  21. iam agree about impotene syndrome

  22. I don’t think these spammers are making anything off selling product, as much as they may be getting paid to prove themselves capable of bypassing spam filters even with the most blatant unwanted messages.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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