Thursday, July 10, 2008

How to Sound Spammy, Even When You're Not

I just received an email, and as I began to read the email, all sorts of warning flags went up.

Here's how the email started:

Wanted to send you a quick note to follow-up on the messages I recently sent to you. I have not heard from you yet and I am hoping the information I sent you actually made it to your inbox. We recently switched our email client and a few people have confirmed they have not been getting my messages--so I just wanted to make sure that is not the case with you.

Bear in mind that the sender of the message is someone that I've never heard from in my life. Perhaps I was suspicious because this "second letter" thing sounded very much like another "second letter" thing that I recently received (remember the idiot Brian Walters?).

Add to this the personal/impersonal tone of the letter ("I am hoping the information I sent you actually made it to your inbox" sounds personal and impersonal at the same time), and I'm already in a negative mood after reading the first paragraph. I proceeded to the second.

I am the Customer Relations Manager for Key Accounts at Everything Channel -- because of your industry status, your account has been assigned directly to me. As one of my top accounts I wanted to let you know that I am still holding your complimentary subscription...

Kill me now. This person that I've never heard of tells me that I have high "industry status," and that I'm one of her "top accounts." Yet I bet that five seconds after this email was sent, she probably couldn't spell my name correctly.

So what's the compliementary subscription? CRN Magazine...

Huh? They're actually legit. Despite the fly-by-night nature of the email, this is actually for a legitimate online publication.

I felt better, started relaxing, and continued to read the email. well as your Channel Community Membership for a few more weeks--but I really need you to confirm your reservation for me--ASAP if possible. Thanks in advance for doing this for me. I really appreciate it, receiving your confirmation allows me to check the top item off on my never-ending to do list-and makes me look good in front of my boss.

By this time, I was turned off again. When someone who doesn't know me from Adam tells me that my complimentary subscription is the "top item" on her to-do list, I have real doubts about the information source that she's pushing.

Sorry, but this email is not the top item on MY to-do list...

P.S. I really didn't bother to read the rest of the email, which is just as well, because when I found another copy of the email on the web, I saw how bad the rest of the email got.

What are the benefits of becoming an Everything Channel Member?

You will be joining an elite group of Solution Providers over 300,000 strong. With industry networking and sales generating opportunities made possible through our Online Partner Locator Directory, and a wide range of multi-media tools at your disposal, Everything Channel Community Members have the edge when it comes to growing their businesses. Members also get exclusive access to an unrivaled vault of strategic research, industry analysis, training and seminar opportunities, conferences and much more. You decide what your membership looks like. Additionally, when you fill out your membership application form, we will tailor specific products to meet your needs based on your profile.

But if I'm already their top priority, I shouldn't need to fill in a profile. They should already know everything about me. They are the Everything Channel, after all.

Do people actually win the prizes for becoming a Channel Community Member? Yes-and you can be next!! May's winner was Robert Bye, Executive Vice President at NGENX.

I looked up Bye, and he sounded like someone that a channel publication would want to get into their list of elite d00ds. Seriously, Bye is impressive:

As channel partners analyze the ebb and flow of their various revenue streams, they might discover that adding something new to their portfolios could provoke a flood of new business. A hot opportunity for selling more services into one’s existing base is software as a service, to be discussed in one of this morning’s concurrent sessions....

Panelist Robert Bye, executive vice president of nGenX, agreed that SaaS allows companies to get the benefits of new technologies such as collaboration and remote access without the investment in server hardware and IT resources to maintain these systems. “Agents can learn how to add incremental revenue from existing customers without having to become an expert in IT,” explained Bye. “SaaS provides a consultative sales opportunity that increases value to the customer and also decreases churn because these products are so sticky.”

Now I'll admit, despite my protestations, that I have a bit of technical and business knowledge, and I'll admit that I have given presentations at several conferences (and will be giving one next month - I'm adapting an old presentation, and just have to remember to wear a jacket), but I've never been asked to participate in a panel that addresses a potential business/technological trend of this type.

CRN, if you want me to subscribe, don't lie to me and say that I'm your top priority, and don't act like Rick Dees and try to bribe me into joining. Just tell me that I'll have access to people like Robert Bye and I'll be happy.

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