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Why customers hate breadcrumbing

Why customers hate breadcrumbing

Marketing department are renowned for "breadcrumbing" their databases, without even realising it.

They build up a database and score big time with management for their accomplishment. If they are any good, they have also segmented their database and prepared it for one-to-one marketing activations. All crowd pleasers. 

Next, they start communicating with that database, perhaps even using their CRM system with a marketing automation platform. This is considered sophisticated in approach and important in the entire inbound lead generation process.

But then something happens.

They get busy, someone changes jobs, too many leads come in, not enough leads come in and 100 other reasons, but ultimately, they drop the ball, and without even realising it, start ghosting the contact.

Does this sound familiar? Has this happened to you before? Are you the recipient of the corporate "ghost" or are the one who has been responsible for breadcrumbing.

For those who don't know what breadcrumbing is, here's the explanation:

Breadcrumbing is a slow and painful death of a relationship, whereas ghosting makes it clear — eventually — that the person is gone.” ... It's the act of sending noncommittal but flirtatious messages, or giving someone just enough attention to keep them interested so the other person has someone on standby.

I've not only experienced it, I have been a major playing in acting out this marketing crime without even realising just what sort of impact it has.

People like consistency. They don't like to be harassed, but they do like you to know that they are there. Sending messages as part of an overall email marketing campaign, or through social media becomes something of the norm, but if it is stop and start, push and pull, the customer or prospect starts to feel a little less special.

How do you avoid breadcrumbing your customers and prospects?

  • Be consistent with your communications especially with the frequency
  • Ensure that your communications is one-to-one and not one-to-many
  • Always respond to a prospect or customer - no ghosting or in simple terms, forgetting to get back to them
  • Write communications that draws a connection, but then don't follow it up with a stale, unrelated message written by someone else who has no idea about consistency of communication
  • Don't drop your prospect for something better or bigger.

Breadcrumbing is a thing. It should be a topic of communications with all marketing departments and stay on the agenda. Someone in the organisation should take ownership of communications and ensure that no-one is breadcrumbed no matter how valuable or invaluable you believe the lead to be.

Simple really, and yet so few marketers get this right - including me.

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