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The Importance of Relevance: A Cautionary Tale

January 11, 2012  

"Today I was sad," writes Tara Jacobsen at the Marketing Artfully blog. "I got a message from someone who I like a lot and have been 'friends' with on the Internet for a while."

The problem? Unlike the steady stream of relevant content the business friend used to distribute, this email was yet another in a string of irrelevant affiliate marketing messages.

Jacobsen's patience had worn thin. She considered—and decided against—three common options facing disgruntled subscribers:

  • Unsubscribing. While this would remove the irritating affiliate messages from her inbox, it would also eliminate the sometimes-good content.
  • Complaining. She refrained from expressing her displeasure in a "scathing email with lots of caps and exclamation points" because her friend is free to run his business as he likes.
  • Venting. Social media provides an easy outlet for frustration, but Jacobsen sees this all too frequently—and understands what it's like to be on the receiving end of a diatribe.

So what did she do? She set a rule that diverts this friend's email from her inbox and sends it straight to a "Marketing People" folder she browses through when she has the time. "[H]e went from a trusted source of information to someone who will never see the light of day again," she notes. "While I will see his info on Facebook, he will not have the ability to contact me directly anymore."

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