Seven deadly B2B marketing sins happening in my inbox RIGHT NOW


The situation in my inbox is not pretty; it hasn’t been for a while.

email inbox header

Good marketing emails don’t talk down to me. Good emails link to content that gets what I’m about, here in my role at Radix, and understand that I know what I’m doing most of the time, but that I appreciate constructive advice on how to be more effective in my job.

But what has become increasingly clear is that a lot of the vendor messages and content that waltz their way over to my work email address… they don’t convey any of the above.

Here are seven deadly sins being committed against my inbox  as I write:

1. Not getting me: a company doesn’t appear to have developed relevant buyer personas to match emails and content to, so they appear to be unaware of current and complex issues that affect my role.

2. Forever newbie: emails and linked-to content from vendors assume I’m unaware of current trends (or old ones) in marketing and know nothing of how to tackle them.

forever newbie exampleYep, I know this already. I even made a presentation that mentions this, with audio.

3. Assumed bro: we’ve never met, but the tone of voice used is too casual and suggests that we’ve at least shook hands at some point or had an awesome debate over Twitter. We never have.

assumed bro exampleLike I said, we’ve never met.

4. Shuffle repeat: not only is there an imagined knowledge gap, but I know I’ve been sent a link to that eBook before and the two eBooks that were mentioned in separate emails that preceded the latest email – and I’ve noticed this. This is not how you repurpose content.

5. Copycat: all promoted content is just reworded versions of what everyone else is saying with nothing original introduced into the mix.

copycat exampleGuess how many eBooks I’ve already read about this.

6. Flooding: number of emails from a vendor is more than once a week. Accessing content results in more emails on the same day.

7. Preaching without practising: a vendor, despite creating content that talks about best practice in marketing, commits some or all of these sins and this one.

Room for improvement

I understand why I’m deluged with the emails that I do receive. For instance: a brand can seem like a copycat, because approving content ideas in some large organisations can take a long time. Yet if this is identified as a problem – it should be addressed.

Plus there needs to be better segmentation in mailing lists. B2B marketing teams need to regularly revisit buyer personas, or create them, and, as we’ve demonstrated, it’s easier than ever to do, thanks to services such as LinkedIn.

And yes, getting tone and voice to balance just right is difficult – I don’t want to be swamped with emails using strict, formal language. Still, if an email can’t be read out loud without you feeling awkward about how it’s saying things, then it’s probably going to seem worse on the receiving end.

Cleaning up my inbox

Last year, Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners wrote about tone of voice, “Get it really wrong and your audience will stick around just so that they can hate you.” I think the same can be said in general about marketing and I’d rather not subscribe to content because I hate it. Hitting the unsubscribe link on the emails of repeat offenders is an option, but being ignorant of what other marketers are doing in B2B – it just isn’t best practice.


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