Lead Gen Gone Wild at Tech Target

Business media publisher TechTarget is a great example of how marketers can get the wrong idea when someone opts-in to their offer. It’s a great example of Lead Gen Gone Wild.

No One Does Spam Like TechTarget
Here’s the deal. TechTarget is a pretty big online media publisher. According to its Wikipedia entry, “TechTarget.com is an online IT media related firm. It runs various online review sites, such as TechnologyGuide.com.”

It publishes a lot of niche content sites on subjects like IT security and compliance.
I registered two weeks ago at one of the Tech Target sites, because I wanted to read a compliance white paper. If you’re in business or IT marketing, you’ve probably done this dozens of times.

The White Paper is one of the most common lead generation tactics you can do in B2B marketing. The sequence for the vendor goes like this: create and promote content, promote offer, take registrations, then use email marketing (less commonly telesales) to follow-up and develop and qualify leads. The end-user experience is this: You provide your name and contact info, download some kind of PDF, and expect to receive some email follow-up.

What was different this time was the consequence of opting-in.

Lead Gen Gone Wild: Here’s the Proof
I used my Yahoo! email address when I registered. A week after downloading my white paper, this is what my in-box looked like. Can you say spam?

Tech Target Spam

Just Because Your Terms of Services Say You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
Ten emails!

Yes, I know there are preferences and subscription options but why put the onus on the consumer to struggle under the weight and responsibility of having to uncheck a bunch of boxes I never checked in the first place. Yes, I know there’s a Terms of Service agreement I probably agreed to, but Tech Target’s lead gen team needs to understand that just because they can spam me and inundate my in-box doesn’t mean they should.

Here’s what TechTarget needs to understand about lead generation, permission marketing and email marketing. Take. It. Slowly.

Opting-in to one or two newsletters doesn’t automatically mean I’m opting into everything else your company produces in the category. Ten emails in one day? Excuse my French “but après la registration, la deluge.” I may have opted in, but I certainly didn’t do it consciously.

If you produce a lot more media, as TechTarget does, don’t take it for granted that I want to receive it.

What am I left with? Not a lot of warm and fuzzies for TechTarget. It’s been like watching a friend go on a date on a Friday with someone, fall madly for them, and smother them with attention (flowers, chocolates, texts, and Dallas Cowboy tickets) at work all day Monday.

TechTarget would be better off growing the relationship and using some data mining (open rates, for example?) to introduce me to other content, rather than giving me the digital publishing/media version of foie gras force feeding. TechTarget’s spam assault just left a bad taste in my mouth.

74 Comments

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  • Tim Boswell

    9 months ago

    I’m getting the same thing from TechTarget. Let’s be clear – I NEVER opted in. I entered my email address to read an article, was presented with another screen asking for a whole lot more information, and decided I didn’t want to read the article that badly after all. No opt in, certainly no COI, no conditions, no checkboxes. Just lots and lots of spam.

  • Steve M.

    5 months ago

    Same experience after downloading a white paper. I created a rule to block spam from TechTarget, and had to list all the “from” names like SearchNetworking, SearchCloudStorage, SearchCloudComputing, SearchSOA. So far so good. I read in another site that TechTarget does not honor opt-out requests and thought it would be easier to block them.

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