The One Thing I’ll Never Understand About Spammy Sales, Obnoxious Marketing, & Drone-Like Support

Here’s what I will never understand about the business world, whether you work in sales, marketing, customer support — anything. So often, people do things to others that they themselves would dislike if THEY were on the receiving end. Case in point: A sales rep sent me an email today that said, “Third time’s a charm.” No. No it’s really not.

Now, of COURSE that individual would never feel good about receiving three emails, two of which they’d previously ignored, if they were on the receiving end. But whether it’s this example from sales or spammy marketing tactics or drone-like customer support, it always comes back to the same causes of the bad actors. Putting aside folks who realize it’s bad behavior but just don’t care, we receive this kind of spam because of…

1) PRESSURE: “This is how we do things around here” (boss, precedent, peers, etc.)

2) DISASSOCIATION: “It just works” (Removal of yourself from blame because it gets results and therefore you can’t decide NOT to do it. Often, this means pointing to positive signal using either poor data — e.g., they opened the email, which isn’t the point — or a small population as poor indicator of the majority — e.g., 0.1% clicked the ad. Lost here is the negative reactions and frustrations of MOST people you reach, all of whom have megaphones called social media)

3) RATIONALIZATION: “Would I like to receive 3 emails like that? Well, if they were offering something I didn’t know I wanted and I missed the first two emails….” (the loss of empathy and the mental gymnastics that come with having inhabited a job or industry’s echo chamber too long, and the failure to realize you aren’t the customer)

In the face of any of these, you need to re-insert your own sensibilities and role in this world as a human being. If you receive pressure to continue, push back. If it persists, quit. You get one life. Don’t spend it executing something you know to be wrong.

I suppose we behave this way as kids too, treating others in ways we’d hate if the tables were turned. But just like back then, the Golden Rule still applies:

Do Unto Others As You’d Have Them Do Unto You, Or Risk Harming Your Email Deliverability While Getting Publicly Shamed on Social Media

(…or something like that)

If you believe there’s something MORE to this work that we do, we’re on the same page, AND I created an audio documentary series about exactly that. Listen to Unthinkable wherever you get your podcasts, or subscribe to get Monday’s email at

Jay Acunzo is an award-winning podcaster, dynamic keynote speaker, and a guy bothered by conventional thinking bogging down creativity and results. He’s an ex-Google, HubSpot, and VC brand-builder, and he currently spends his time hosting shows and working with teams who wish to break from all the average noise in their niche. Say hi here:

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