To Prefer or Not to Prefer: You Must Ask The Question

Engagement Marketing


Admittedly, I am a salesperson for Marketing Software, but I’m also a consumer just like you, so I have a feel for what works and what doesn’t on the internet. Recently I spoke with a company that insisted they were successfully implementing the “conversations, not campaigns” approach with their customers.

So, I decided to check out what it looked like in action. I subscribed to their loyalty program; I jumped around their site; I opted-in any and every way possible in order to learn how they would market to me. To my surprise, I received only one email, four days later, and it was a newsletter (that felt random to me).  So, I went to the site, and put a $2000 item in my shopping cart, and then, I abandoned it. Almost instantly, I started getting newsletters daily, sometimes even twice a day, but none of them had anything to do with my poor abandoned item, the most expensive thing I could buy.

Finally, I decided to unsubscribe. I mean, I really believed it when they said they had the conversation approach down. So I was disappointed to see:




That was the extent of the unsubscribe preferences. Yes, or no.

I picked yes, but it didn’t have to end that way! We could have been friends; I could have been persuaded to buy the big-ticket item (maybe)! I mean we didn’t have to be best friends, but we could have been social friends or something.

According to Marketo Co-founder, Jon Miller, “One of the best ways to manage your list – and simultaneously establish trust with your audience – is to allow them to take control of the communications they receive.”

I did a little research and found some great examples of companies trying to engage their buyers and establish trust by allowing them to pick their form of communication:

Preference Center





And here is an example of Marketo’s preference center:

marketo Preferences

“Consider all the money you dedicate to acquiring new customers, and the database you’ve built as the result of your investment in acquisition. Now picture that money flying out the window when your customers disengage—either explicitly through an opt-out or subtly by withdrawing their interest.

When you “lose permission” to interact with those customers, you are left unable to approach them about additional products or services.”- from Marketo’s Improve Customer Acquisition with an Engagement Strategy ebook

It is vital that you engage with your customers based on the preferences  and channels that they choose. View and treat your customer database as your most valuable asset. Don’t make it a breakup; give your customers a preference center, and they will stay your friends.

How do you think about having conversations, not campaigns? Do you have a customer preference center? Share your experience and thoughts in the comments below.