Hey, here’s a great marketing plan!

Let’s invade our prospective customers’ privacy, pester them at all hours, lie to them on the phone, and trick them into doing business with us. That’ll make us really successful.

Who the hell is doing business with companies that robo-call them? “Hi! This is Emily! How are you? …… Oh, I’m sorry. I’m having a little trouble with my headset.  So, the reason I called today….”

Are you freaking serious? This is how you want to establish enough interest and enough trust to ask me to buy something you’re selling? How do you think your potential customer will feel when she realizes she’s being snookered by your fake headset line? How are you planning to grow your business in the face of all the millions of people who no longer answer their phone unless they recognize the number on their Caller ID?

Yes, it’s obviously cheaper to have a machine make those calls for you. But come on. At what cost? In order to save a little money, you’ve managed to destroy the very channel that you were using to market your product in the first place. You’ve piled deception on us until it’s up to the ceiling, made us wary and suspicious and ultimately unavailable — to you.

This is the age of permission marketing. If you anger and offend us, we can turn you off. If you interrupt us to yell your message at us, we can switch to a thousand other channels or activities or websites. Your job, which is harder, but also more effective in the long run, is to create a relationship. One built on mutual benefit and trust.

Get it? No? There must be something wrong with your headset.