d.Mark consulting LLC | Online Tracking That Cramps My Style
Marketing Automation allows digital marketers to deliver relevant, personal, & customized content while avoiding intrusive, obnoxious & unwanted interaction
Marketing Automation

Online Tracking That Cramps My Style

Data Driven Marketers Are Watching You – Part 2


We all like personalization. It’s the culture we live in and what we’ve come to expect – yet overall consumers don’t appreciate reminders that their digital behavior is being tracked. We’re aware of it. Most of us accept it (albeit reluctantly, sometimes begrudgingly) but even if accepted, we can do without the reminder.

Digital marketers have the challenge of walking that fine line of delivering relevant, personal, customized content while avoiding intrusive, obnoxious and unwanted interaction.


The key to walking the line successfully is extraordinarily simple.


LISTEN to your customer!


Here’s a perfect example of online tracking at its worst due to NOT listening to the customer. This company’s sales and marketing team clearly did not work together on digital campaign planning – and let me tell you – this method of online tracking really cramps my style!

It was a first time visit to this website with the purpose of downloading a study. I could only download the file by first providing name and email. I wanted the study so in good faith provide the information – trusting any interaction thereafter is based on what my digital behavior tells them. Within an hour of the download I receive the message –

You expressed an interest in ABC study, you might also be interested in XYZ study. 

Okay, they’re not starting off on the right foot given I hardly had the chance to review the initial download in that one hour window but I’ll give them a chance and see if they care about continuing the relationship. Within 3 hours I get another message –


You might also be interested in…

Day 2, I receive no less than 3 messages about topics I’ve expressed absolutely no interest in whatsoever. Now remember I’ve visited their site just once, viewed just that one page where I downloaded the study. I didn’t visit any other pages and hadn’t been to their site again after that initial visit. How presumptuous and pushy to harass so blatantly. Ordinarily I’d have opted out immediately and been done with them because they’re quite disrespectful and clearly a business that doesn’t listen to their customers. But for kicks and giggles I don’t opt out. I’m curious how they perceived (assumed) our relationship would move forward.


Knowing that initial email is being tracked for continued opens I made a point of never opening it again. I don’t engage with any email they’ve sent and don’t visit their website at all. Still I receive 3 emails a day. They begin to start with


Haven’t heard from you for a while but thought you might be interested in…

So I’m receiving 3 unwanted, irrelevant messages a day while disengaged having shown no digital behavior that indicates engagement. I’m curious what’ll happen if I actually engage and lead them to believe I’m interested.  Surprise, surprise now I receive 5 messages a day. I’m not kidding. I experiment a little more taking a few days off in between opening messages – never once returning to their website – just interacting with messages. The results were predictable. I’ve had enough. Clearly this company employs idiots and that’s not a company I care to do business with. In losing trust and confidence in them I’ve also lost trust and confidence in what they’re selling. But what made this situation all the worse is they’re a digital company selling Google AdWord consultation and management. Of all companies – they should know better!

Their technique is clearly the WRONG way to deploy marketing automation software. It’s a method which WILL turn people off altogether. The purpose of online tracking is collecting data points to ascertain wants and needs of customers so future interactions are timed well and based upon digital behavior – or lack thereof. The aforementioned company simply blasted information they wanted to communicate with complete disregard for what I’ve shown interest in based on my digital behavior. That’s what marketers do absent the assistance of sales being involved in the digital marketing process. Marketers don’t know how to interact with customers to the same degree as sales because that’s not their job. They’re about messaging, branding and supporting sales efforts but knowing the buyer’s journey from top of funnel to bottom is what sales does. Online messaging and branding can’t be artsy, fartsy stuff alone as it’s been in traditional media forever. Digital marketing will only realize ROI when it’s built on the foundation of sales and marketing collaboration.

Pretty darn basic and yet the number one reason marketing automation efforts fail is because marketers don’t listen to their customer’s voice by listening to their digital behavior. Not opening an email or not acting on a call to action is the virtual world’s equivalent to the physical world customer crossing their arms, looking over your shoulder or glancing at their watch during a sales pitch. They’ve disengaged. Respect the signals you’re given even when not actually voiced.

Sales people know body language and unspoken indications speak just as loud if not louder than words. Good sales people listen and achieve success by respecting not only what customers say but what their body language suggests. So it must also be in the virtual world. Online comments, likes, dislikes, email dialogue should be taken into consideration when measuring a customer’s level of engagement but just as important is unspoken digital body language which shows how an individual engages (or not) with your digital properties – i.e. site visits, pages visited, how often and for how long, email interaction, downloads and more.

Marketing automation done wrong occurs when marketers alone manage digital messaging without sales involvement. And, marketers are NOT salespeople yet they’re typically tasked with managing online assets which in the end are sales properties. Now, many marketers would argue this is false but they’d lose the argument.

Over the last 20 years I’ve had the privilege of working with many in-house talented marketers, some incredibly progressive and ahead of their time. Likewise I’ve worked with many ad agencies having outstanding talent, but 90% of those marketers who I have enormous respect for as marketers couldn’t sell a banana to a monkey to save their life. Why? They’re not sales people!

Now it must be said, I’ve worked with highly successful sales representatives that are anything but marketers. They couldn’t come up with creative, call to action branding to save their lives any more than the marketers could sell bananas to a monkey. I know reps who can sell ice to an Eskimo but ask them to perform a marketer’s task and forget it.

In the end, successful automation which shows ROI for digital marketing efforts is accomplished through joint efforts between sales AND marketing. Smarketing. Unless of course you’re fortunate enough to have that diamond in the rough with both sales and marketing strengths. Those people are out there, but they’re few and far between.

Sales knows how to engage a customer and move them through the buyer’s journey because it’s what they do. A marketer can’t be expected to have that knowledge because they don’t spend their days on the street, pounding the pavement closing sales (nor would they want to). Therein is the disconnect. Collaboration between the two is paramount for successful automated campaigns.

So collaborate. Leverage the power of digital marketing for your company. Employ a certified digital marketing agency, such as d.Mark, for consultation thereby maximizing efforts and realizing even greater ROI. And, stay tuned for next week’s post on how to begin results driven Smarketing collaboration.

Oh, and one final thought – if I’m on your email list – please have sales and marketing collaborate on any digital campaigns I may be slotted for. It’d be a welcome breath of fresh air to receive content of relevance when I actually want to receive it. Listen to what’s said through my digital body language and communicate with me accordingly. Otherwise I’ll take opt out action and not hesitate telling anyone who’ll listen what a bad experience I had with your digital brand – like everyone else will. Your choice.

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