I wrote an article that went live earlier called “Do You People READ?” that was inspired by someone who reached out (through an automated tool) on LinkedIn. I even admitted in the article (a word that I seem to be having tremendous trouble typing today on this damned ‘ergonomic’ keyboard) that I was having a boring day staring at progress bars… and that while the intent of the article was to call out these automation tools, I intentionally left his or her name out… I do not know him or her, and for all I knew at the time, he or she is probably a nice person. I did not want to shame anyone for doing their job…
…and I was right to do so. More on that in a minute.
I have, at present, 1,083 articles on this blog, which does not include a single article that I deleted because I was lauding a product that I later discovered to be lousy. Every one of those pieces was inspired by… something, or someone. Whether it is a highly technical article about PowerShell or whatnot, or a particularly nice meal that I had in Tokyo, or an interaction I had with customer service from this or that company. Sometimes I am inspired by an e-mail… or a LinkedIn message.
I sent a link to the article to the person who sent it. they replied… and not simply with a message, he or she actually recorded a personal video in response to me. It was extremely nice, and explained how he or she does indeed use automation tools on LinkedIn. He or she discussed his company, and mentioned some of the people he or she works with… people who inspire him or her.
In short, while I am not in marketing, and while I generally loathe being marketed to, he or she sent me a message that took a lot of thought, and did it with class. I am extremely happy that I did not call anyone out by name; I was having a particularly unpleasant day at the office when I wrote it, and my article (I hate typing that word on this keyboard, which I also hate!) could have been damaging to them… had I named them. They (let’s do away with the he or she) did not seem to take great offense, and indeed mentioned that while they have received many responses in the past, they seemed almost flattered that I wrote an entire article about them… which I did, and I did not.
I do not like unsolicited communications, and yet they come at me every day. As I mentioned in the article, I usually would just delete it… but here I took the opportunity to talk about spam, phishing, and all manner of unwanted phone calls, almost every one of which is more annoying than this one message on LinkedIn. I called them out and used this one as an anchor because I had it in front of me, and while watching progress bars I was bored.
While I do not enjoy being marketed to, I am an avid listener to a podcast called Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly, which is all about marketing. I used to listen to it on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation when I lived north of the border, and now that I am in California it is one of my top podcasts. Listening to the history of marketing sometimes makes me appreciate what is involved. I am reasonably sure that if Terry were to do another episode on mea culpas he would use this response that I received as a strong success.
It must be hard when you are in a public-facing industry to be berated by customers and reply with a smile. I have seen too often when cashiers, wait staff, and others have responded to insults with insults; it is a terrible strategy that is the result of a combination of poor attitudes and insufficient training. It will always escalate the situation, and it never ends well.
I have no product to market, and I am happy that I have nothing to do with that aspect of the business I am in. If I did, I would be calling this company and doing business with them. When someone knows how to respond to nastiness with an even-tempered and mature response, that is the type of person I want to be in business with. Thanks E, your response made my day. Good luck, I hope you find exactly the clients you are looking for!