Clever or Creepy?

I was sitting at my desk today happily coding away when a piece of mail was dropped on my desk.   It was a 5×7 brown envelope that was addressed by hand to me.   Being the curious sort that I am,  I opened the envelope to find this….

I was a little confused but went ahead and typed in the url and was taken to a clever micro site that had be created / customized for me.  I clicked around a bit and was impressed with the interaction of the site.   I did not think too much of this and went back to my code.  In less than 20 minutes I received a work email from a sales guy.


Good afternoon.  I sent that hotel keycard & napkin, and wanted to hear your thoughts of that personalized web experience.

May I request a discussion, maybe Wednesday afternoon?  Let me know what works best.

I’m also happy to send additional information at your request.

Sales Guy

Now, being more involved in the analytics space I was impressed.  Here was a very clever mail to web campaign and it had worked.  I went to the web site, they detected that and sent a timely email about the experience.   I was thinking about responding to find out more about the site/product/solutions.

But then my desk phone rang.  I still had the email from the sales guy up on my screen and the phone number on the caller id matched the email.  I chose not to answer, but did listen to the voice mail.  Sure enough….it was the sales  guy, letting me know that they had tracked me and like Will Smith in “Enemy of the State” they knew my every move.   Well maybe I paraphrased that last part.

This is where they lost me.  This clever campaign went to creepy in less than 20 minutes.   I thought about it for a little while and then emailed the sales guy.

Dear Sales Guy,

With the email then the voice mail it went from Clever to Creepy pretty quick.

A short time later, he responded.


We have no intention to creep you out. We just wanted to show you our capability of being able to put a message in front of a prospect and know in real time that they are looking at it. I want to share an actual VLG customer lead generation campaign.

This dialog marketing campaign has generated a 38% mail to web response. Just click the link below:

(link removed)

I’d like to answer your questions and provide more information regarding our capabilities at VLG. Please let me know a good time to have a brief discussion.

Sales Guy

I do not fault the intent behind this particular sales pitch, but something about it did not sit right.  I am fully aware of the effort and opportunities that such a solution could have, but the creepy factor has outweighed the clever factor for me.

What do you think?

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