Many people say that you’ll never get what you want unless you ask for it. This applies to many aspects in your life. If you want to get a raise at work, you have a much better chance at getting that extra money if you simply ask for it rather than waiting around for your manager to offer it. You’ll need to justify your request, of course, but you need to ask for the raise. From a customer’s perspective, you won’t get an additional discount on your purchase unless you ask for it. You won’t get some extra savings every time, but you’ll never get it unless you ask for it.
The same can be said from the standpoint of a business. If you have a client that has recently started to scale back on their purchases, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to recover those lost sales unless you ask your customer to buy more. This much is understood and most customers will be open to a certain level of solicitation. For example, I’m more likely to donate to a charity if they send a gentle reminder that I have donated in the past and they would still appreciate additional donations should I feel so inclined.
The trouble here is that of a slippery slope. With subtle and infrequent requests, you may be able to get what you want. I might get a mailing from one charity twice a year. I may not donate on both occasions, but I’m not annoyed by the mailouts. By contrast, if I were to get bombarded with mailings on a weekly or monthly basis, I may choose to take my dollars elsewhere. This isn’t just for charities; it’s for regular businesses as well.
All forms of marketing can be effective when utilized correctly. You can try the occasional mailout, email message, or phone call. These can work, but overusing them will generate the reverse effect. You can drive customers away. In this way, you have to find the very gentle balance between the effective customer service-oriented follow-up and the ineffective bombardment of spam.
Where do you draw the line? How much marketing is too much? How much is not enough?