“Nurturing” has become the big buzzword of content marketing. Everyone is trying to nurture their prospects and customer.
Marketing wants to develop a “relationship” with customers. They want to educate customers, they want to influence them as they go through their buying process, continuing to send relevant information, helping educate the customer as they progress. Marketing wants to continue to “touch the customer” maintain contact and awareness. Theoretically nurturing programs are supposed to be informative, relevant. Nurturing helps to inform and educate the customer — at a pace and in a manner important to the customer, not the marketing team.
Ideally, nurturing programs are constructed to provide helpful information just when the customer is seeking that help.
At least, that’s the theory.
As I reflect on the dozens of nurturing programs that have been inflicted on me, I honestly can’t find one that has been helpful. Most aren’t relevant, they aren’t tuned to my interests, they aren’t even tuned to my past responses.
Some organizations think nurturing is communicating everything about the company to everybody. They’ve got my email, so now they feel they need to share every product change, every event, every webinar, every announcement. It doesn’t matter that most of the information is completely disconnected with my original query, and none of it is helpful, they just need to keep me informed with the things they think important.
Others focus on awareness, they want to keep their brand and company at the forefront of my mind—every day, every week. Soon my inbox is cluttered with stuff from them, I’ve forgotten why I contacted them in the first place.
Then there is the undisguised, “Buy Now” pitch. It doesn’t matter how I’ve engaged the company, whether I’ve asked for a white paper or an eBook, whether I’ve enrolled in a webinar, the immediate “nurturing response” is an endless series of phone calls and emails from a sales person. Clearly, the thinking is that because I expressed interest in some of their content, I must be in a buying cycle–most don’t even bother to ask why I requested the information I did or if I am in a buying cycle. Some of the most embarrassing are from those companies where I am already a customer (can you spell CRM?).
Too many don’t seem to pay attention to the clues I might leave behind–the fact that I don’t open any of the emails doesn’t slow the flow. Maybe I open one briefly, but I take no action, I don’t click through asking for more. The nurturing continues.
Too many marketers send stuff they think is interesting or should be interesting, not stuff I think is interesting. If they had done the right job in understanding customers, they would be able to keep the communications relevant.
The sheer volume of marketing people “caring,” wanting to educate, embrace, inform is overwhelming. I can’t take it, I don’t want it, it is not helpful.
Please stop nurturing me!
It’s not helpful, it’s not strengthening your positioning.
Just because I asked for information doesn’t mean I’m in a buying cycle. Something you did struck me and interested me (Plus 1 for you.)
Give me the option of continuing the dialog–embed additional offers for engagement into your content, let me take the action. If I’m not, it probably is telling you something.
After a period of time, you might reach out, asking if I need anything more, offering some additional relevant content.
Offer to keep me updated — Monthly–but keep the information consistent and relevant to my original request, don’t send me stuff I haven’t expressed an interest in.
Let me set the tempo of communication and nurturing–don’t force everything on me. That’s the surest way to lose my interest.