Are you using marketing automation to “nurture” prospects and customers? Or are you using marketing automation to alienate and tick them off? Are you using marketing automation as the lazy way to market and business develop? Give this some deep thought before you dismiss. Let me share an “unsuccess story”.

In August I downloaded a trial version of Mindjet’s MindManager software. I had purchased MindManager before and was coming back to buy the software for another machine. My downloading the trial was the beginning of this “unsuccess story” in marketing and sales prospecting automation.

Five Emails I Didn’t Need or Want

Mindjet uses Marketo to send out a series of autoresponders from a sales rep. In my case the sales rep sent me five emails between Sep 13 and Oct 5th:

1) Sep 13: A trial expiry notice
2) Sep 20: A “sorry we’ve not connected” with a price increase threat. I replied saying I was already a customer.
3) Sep 27: A special pricing promotion offer (clearly intended for reps to book business/make quota in the current quarter)
4) Sep 29: Trial expired using subject line: “Will Mindjet fit your core business needs?”
5) Oct 6: Same Trial expired notice as above with subject line: Did you find MindManager useful? How so? Lets talk…

So here’s what makes this really prickly

  • I purchased the software on September 12, through another rep, for $314 the day before my trial expired. How is it the sales and marketing team didn’t know this? Why was I still being treated as a prospect with the rep having no idea that I already was a customer?
  • After the fifth email from the rep, even though I replied to his second email saying I was a customer, I sent out the tweet below and told him to update his records. His response was: “Your account resets as you interact with marketo and download trials as you did on 8/11. Thanks Enjoy”. Ahhhh….ok..I think!

Some Thoughts

Nobody is perfect and I know and Mindjet is better than this and will make corrections. I get the need for automation when companies have to manage a high volume of trials, contacts and accounts. But, don’t lose sight of fundamental marketing disciplines such as segmentation, account and list management, customer service, value based selling and simply saying “I’m sorry”! .

Marketing automation is NOT a set it and forget it thing. Don’t let it create a prickly situation, turn off your customers and in some cases cause customers to blog about their negative experience with your company.

Mindjet has sent me a Direct Message telling me they are investigating. I tried to respond via DM to them but they are not following me on Twitter.