Marketing should not be pushy.

Yesterday I got a call from one of the well known catalogs that sells computer hardware and software. I interrupted the sales pitch and politely asked the caller to take me off of their list so I wouldn’t get any more sales calls. He quickly mumbled something about there being no list and hung up on me before I could say anything else.

I bet you have experienced plenty of unethical sales calls like this. It is frustrating to know that you can’t stop them. Sure, there are do-not-call lists and you can complain to the management, but that is a lot of hassle and often doesn’t stop the calls.

Well, I can’t stop the calls, but I can make this company feel a little pain. They happen to sell our products. They won’t anymore! I don’t care that we will lose some sales. Marketing should be honest, informative, and helpful. We will not work with companies that violate those principles.

To end on a positive note, great merchants do exist. I like B&H Photo and Amazon. They both excel at providing useful information before the sale, quick and easy purchasing, and helpful support afterward. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that describes us too, since I’m probably biased.

About the Author:

Jeff Butterworth is the founder of Alien Skin Software. He used to create the products, but now he does marketing and gets coffee for the programmers.


  1. Jay December 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Sorry you experienced that. Here’s what I’ve always wanted to do is what Tom Mabe does:

  2. Dean December 4, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Jeff, I “LOVE” doing biz with Amazon and B&H for those very reasons. And I love your products and reading your blog. I have 20 sites that I check in with every morning while drinking my first cup of coffee, and your blog is one of them. Cheers & Happy Holidays!!!

  3. Joe Smith December 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    So as photographers, where is that line that we do not cross? Or perhaps, what is that line that we should not cross? We need to stay competitive, period. I’m not marketing my services to companies like you. But to John and Joanne Consumer, we need to get our name out, need to let people know who we are, what we do, etc., but without being offensive? No matter what, I’m going to be offensive to someone as, according to my daughter, ‘there are more things to hate’ and me and my camera and my wanting you to pay me for my services are probably one of them. Not sure if I’m hittin’ on all cylinders here but, I sure want to know, or at least would love some input on how much is too much?

    • Jeff December 5, 2011 at 11:18 am

      Joe, you are right. Even polite marketing will offend someone. For instance, every time we e-mail the newsletter about 0.2% of the people on our list unsubscribe and 0.04% report it as spam. That hurts a little, but I’m not going to stop producing the newsletter. I sleep well knowing that our e-mails are not spammy. You can’t please everyone all of the time.

  4. Jem December 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Yeah, there’s a nice little saying that goes ‘when you send the mail, you’re sending a newsletter. When they receive the mail, they’re getting spammed’.

    The Alien Skin newsletters are actually a really good template as far a balance of selling and involvement goes. I’ve recently had an usubscribe binge but I find them pretty interesting, so you made the cut!

    Thanks for the products you create and happy holidays.

    • Jeff December 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      It is really satisfying to hear that.

      Thanks, Jem!

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