Believe it or not, customers are very bright and intuitive when it comes to figuring out marketing tactics. We’ve learned, for example, they are particularly good at ignoring the renewal options that are timed to build a marketer's customer base but accept the “Free tutorial or web seminar” offers that are included in each mailing – because customers have learned there will be plenty of opportunities to renew in the future.

This is why I have become increasingly concerned with the marketing strategy of “playing the numbers game.” Included in each mailing, printed advertisement, email newsletter, marketers try and tell me we are “partners” and that my special relationship with them gives me a special place with them.

But the reality is, most of the time, I have no idea why I have been selected to receive so many of their mailings and it’s beyond me why I am being called out at all! It turns out that by signing up for one of their promotions or products, an entire world of “relationship” just opens up. For instance, say I download a free case study. This simple action starts the relationship and the avalanche of subsequent e-mailings, phone calls and printed mailings.

From my perspective, as a consumer and buyer, this far surpasses my understanding of what a relationship is about. But from a marketer’s perspective, this one download indicates that there are deeper opportunities to be mined!

This is the basis of my uneasiness in playing the numbers. If we teach customers and/or prospects that at any time they react to any of our promotions – regardless of how minor – this will bring a barrage of unwanted marketing communications, we will make it that much more difficult for future marketers to be effective.

The reality is sincere marketing and customer building takes thoughtful interactions and time. Each promotion and its follow-up need to be timed in direct relation to what the customer and/or prospect have requested. By honoring the customer’s wishes, the wise marketer will be rewarded with long-term customers. What say you?