Mr. No Short-Term Memory

 Posted by on February 8, 2011
Feb 082011

By Amethyst Wonder

I was going to write about the phenomenon of Mr. Cut & Paste. You know the guy: he sends you a message that is clearly a form letter he sends out to everyone he has any potential interest in. It’s annoying. Anyone who may be employing this method, take note: we know. We know, and we are not impressed. An extra 20 seconds to personalize the message in some fashion goes a long way. Think of it as a cover letter.

But a recent message has inspired me to focus on a subset of Mr. Cut & Paste – an even more annoying phenomenon known as Mr. No Short-Term Memory.

A couple of months ago I got a message from a guy on CollarMe. It was probably a cut and paste message, but not obviously so. I was in an optimistic mood and I thought he might fit a specific niche I was trying to fill at the time. I sent him a brief reply.

I didn’t get a response. No worries. I certainly don’t base my self-worth on my CollarMe response rate. It happens. I didn’t think much of it. But then a curious thing happened: he wrote me the same introductory message again. The exact same message. Sensing good fodder for my next happy hour story, I wrote him back again… referencing his earlier communication.

He made a lame excuse about not wanting to assume that I would remember his earlier message – which made no sense at all, considering 1) I had returned his message, 2) it had only been two weeks, and 3) he made no reference to any earlier communication. I decided he had outlived his entertainment value, so I didn’t respond.

Flash forward another month and a half. There it is again in my inbox: same guy, same message. At this point he graduated from being made fun of among my friends to being the subject of this article.

Listen, I get that some people play the numbers. Some people fire at as many people as possible, hoping that a low percentage response rate will be offset by pure volume. After all, 1% of 500 is still 5. It’s not my strategy, but it seems to be worth it for some. Even so, I would think that success would correlate to remembering who you’ve written to and responding appropriately.

Moral of the story: If you’re going use a mass-marketing approach, you still have to manage your follow-up.

Moral of the story #2: If you do not have the capacity to remember who you’ve written to, check your f’ing sent messages folder.

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