When the warm, fuzzy feeling goes away

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Since I began working at DMNews, I always get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I respond to direct marketing. Knowing how much work goes into crafting offers, I'm always a little proud to know that someone is going to be able to report results that much stronger thanks to my click, forward or purchase conversion.

Saturday, my wife and I received a mailer from a grocery delivery service that offered 25% off our first two orders. With grocery bills rising, we decided to take advantage of the offer. Fulfillment of the order was beyond satisfactory, as our food arrived right on time the next morning and the company responded timely to a suggestion my wife placed.

However, the amount of follow-up e-mails I have since received has sapped the warm, fuzzy feeling somewhat. The first one, a "How was your order" survey, I expected. The second, which implored "Tell your office manager about us," was OK, but offered me nothing in exchange for my forward — and its image- and link-laden nature made it a difficult to forward from my e-mail client. And today, I received an offer for 20% off my next order to the Hamptons.

Of course, my wife and I make a modest living and have not yet put down a down payment on a Hamptons beach house. We haven't even been farther east than Islip. This struck me as a "spray and pray" type offer that simply created an unnecessary annoyance for me, and had me wondering: Should I be expecting e-mails every day of the week from this vendor? We're not even close to being through with our first order!

This company should be able to build reliable profiles based on the data it collects (frequency, composition of order, average rent in neighborhood delivered to). I'm surprised it resorted to casting such a wide net only four days into our relationship.

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