I had an interesting, unexpected reaction to my “Stop Nurturing Me” post.

An individual commented, “prospects have the option to opt-out of being nurtured, as do customers…..”

The comment, while well intended, frankly struck me as very misguided.

Forcing the customer to opt-out is actually an indication of a massive failure on our part.

It means we haven’t taken the time to really understand the customer—their journey to learn and educate themselves, their “squishy buying cycle,” and their quest for more learning once they’ve bought.

If we are building high quality, impactful content; if we are trying to build customer engagement and trust; if we are building a long term relationship where the customer seeks actively to be involved and learn; the Opt out option is an indicator that we’ve failed.

Leveraging opt-out as a part of the nurturing strategy is really a statement about our arrogance and lack of caring. It’s tantamount to telling the customer, “We don’t care enough about you to do our homework and learn what interests you when. We’ll just keep pummeling you with stuff, letting you decide and take action.”

Opt-out as part of a nurturing strategy, is devastating in other ways. It means we’ve lost that individual! They no longer want to hear from us, they no longer want to be engaged. Recovering from that loss may be impossible, in the least, it will take time and huge amounts of resource to regain permission, rebuild the engagement, rebuild the trust.

Regardless, how carefully we build our content and nurturing strategies, there are those who will Opt-out. Those represent learning moments for us. They represent moments to rethink and refine our strategies, to improve our impact and engagement. We may choose not to change or act, but learning from those who Opt-out gives us choice and the opportunity to improve and grow with our prospects and customers.

Perhaps I’m way off base here, I wish someone would correct me if I’m wrong, but there is no content or nurturing strategy that I can think of in which Opt-out is a reasonable option for what we are trying to achieve.