Responding to complaints about your marketing

You’re running a new ad or email promotion. You think it’s a good one, and based on the early response, your target audience appears to agree.

That’s when the phone rings or the angry email lands in your in box. Someone is clearly upset with you. They don’t understand why you ran such an offensive ad or sent an email that pushed them over the edge. They’ve found something objectionable in the visual, or perhaps in the words. They’ve taken offense at something you never considered. You didn’t plan to upset anyone! What should you do?

Here’s a simple approach: Thank the complainer. Say that you appreciate the fact that he or she took the time to share their concern, and tell them you’ll consider their comments. Then forget about it.

No matter what you do, it’s going to offend somebody — usually for reasons you’d never imagine. But if a thousand people see your ad and five of them find it offensive, it looks to me like 995 thought it was just fine. That’s where I’d focus.

Don’t cater to or cower before complainers. The ageless “wisdom” that the customer is always right just isn’t true. Sometimes, the customer is just plain deranged, and it’s rarely a good idea to let deranged people make your decisions for you.