No One Does Spam Quite Like TechTarget

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.

TechTarget is a pretty big online media publisher. According to the Wikipedia entry. “ is an online IT media related firm. It runs various online review sites, such as” 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.

My Kingdom for a White Paper

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: The Proof

I used a Yahoo! email address to register. A week after downloading my white paper, this is what my in-box looked like. Can you say and spell S-P-A-M. TechTarget actually sent me TEN emails this day. I’d deleted the nine by the time the tenth arrived.

TechTarget Spam

Just Because Your ToS 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 TechTarget’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 Tech Target needs to understand about lead generation, permission marketing and email marketing. Take. It. Slow. 

A Permission Marketing Bridge Too Far

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 content, 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.

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