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Are small companies afraid to write like this?

by Scott Kubie in , 5 August 2011

I was reading a MailChimp blog post today about recent feature revisions and was struck positively by the candor of an explanation about why they were removing a feature from their free plan.

[Autoresponders are] a feature that can be easily abused, and used in ways we did not intend when we originally built it. Hint: if you consider yourself a “serious internet power-monetizing marketing professional” and your goal is to “put your multi-level lead-gen on autopilot while you work from home” MailChimp’s Autoresponders were not really built for you. But if you’re a normal human being, and you want to send an annual birthday email to your customers, or maybe count down to a special event date by sending useful content on a timed schedule, we’re great for that stuff.

Fantastic. An honest, simple, even snarky explanation that draws a line between whom they want as customers and whom they don’t. Does your business communicate that way? Even in private B2B conversations with potential customers? Many don’t.

You might be thinking, “That’s easy for MailChimp, they’re already a big success and can afford to tick off a few customers.”

Sure, it’s easier for big successful companies to adopt that kind of swagger. It’s harder for smaller, less confident businesses. Harder does not equal less important. Drawing a line in the sand can seem scary, but clearly delineating what type of users you are and aren’t trying to support will both save you resources and endear your target audience to you even more. Seems like a no-brainer to me. MailChimp’s ongoing success and rapid growth (3,000 new users per day) makes a strong case for this kind of candor.

Tell the world what kind of customers you don’t want and you can enjoy a little of MailChimp’s success yourself.

Scott Kubie

About the author: Scott is BitMethod’s “Chief Nerd Translator”, filling project management and copywriting roles on most projects. He is passionate about media and has worked in radio, film and event planning. When he grows up he wants to be a Ghostbuster.

Reach out to Scott Kubie at

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