A helpful guide to senders of unsolicited marketing for buyers of technology goods and services. The idea and all the text here are the result of a collaborative effort, stewarded by Rob Miller.

  1. What is the user need?
  2. Why is the service standard important?
  3. The service standard
  4. Make a suggestion

What is the user need?

As a technology buyer I need to learn from suppliers and potential suppliers, so that I can consider ways that their expertise might help me achieve my goals.

As a technology buyer I need to be aware of new products or services that may benefit my organisation in a way that suits me so that I can focus on on my primary role of improving the business I work for.

As a technology buyer I need my mailbox to not be cluttered by annoying marketing emails so that I can get on with my job. (I cannot do this effectively if I am spending large amounts of my time sifting unsolicited marketing to make sure that I don’t delete other important messages)

As a technology buyer I need people who send me unsolicited marketing to know when to stop so that I can get on with my job. (One contact to proffer services might be ok, daily repeats is not)

As a technology buyer I need my calendar to not be blocked up by unsolicited marketing masquerading as meeting invitations so that common decency can return to technology sales.

Why is the service standard important?

Unsolicited marketing will be assessed against the service standard. Failure to follow the standard will lead to mailbox controls being applied (ie senders will be added to block lists).

The service standard

As a sender of unsolicited marketing we expect you to:

  1. Only send us the same email once. If we don’t reply it’s most likely because we are not interested. (And this applies to other forms of communication too – sending an email, then a text and then a call is very annoying)
  2. Not call / email our colleagues saying we’ve asked you to contact them unless we actually have, or refer to an imaginary project that doesn’t actually exist to try to get people’s attention.  
  3. Never use diary invitations as a way to contact us for unsolicited marketing. Ever.
  4. Never invite me or my staff to an obviously fake “conference” that is actually just your clients pitching products or job roles they currently have open.
  5. Engage with us in meaningful conversation. Making contact through social networks is perfectly acceptable, but ‘meaningful conversation’ isn’t a hard sales pitch or candidate lists.
  6. Take a rejection in the spirit of business intelligence, not evidence of the prospect’s misunderstanding of their own job.
  7. Assume that if you can’t tell if something is going to be annoying or not, it probably will be.
  8. Understand that you are not the only supplier trying to get our attention and whilst your product might not be right today it might be in the future – but nagging won’t help attract our attention in a positive way.
  9. Assume my time is important and my diary is full for the next 3-4 weeks. I will not have 5-10 mins to drop everything for a call today or tomorrow, and do not remind me two days later.
  10. Only try to sell us stuff that actually exists (or make it clear where the proposition is to take part in prototyping / R&D).
  11. Not use Freedom of Information requests as a market research tool (especially where data is already published online) and always consider whether responding to your request is the best way to spend taxpayers’ money (as opposed to providing care to vulnerable people, keep roads pothole free etc).
  12. Do not contact my senior managers / elected Members claiming that you have a business relationship with my service when you do not / misrepresenting our business relationship.
  13. The local democratic processes are not intended to be a tool for your unsolicited marketing messages. For example, attempting to use Full Council motions to tout your business is really not ok.

Make a suggestion

Would you like to suggest a change to the standard? Use the form below.