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Marketing is an essential part of almost every business model. Getting the tone of your advertising right, discovering the best demographics to focus on, and how much you have to spend in the process requires research and a dedication to your vision.

But it’s also important to determine just how aggressively to market your product or service. Do too little and you may find yourself choking on the dust of your competitors, but come on too strong and you may just find yourself in a bit more trouble.

Aggressive marketing scares customers

Have you, as a customer, ever received daily emails from a company about their product? Or has a company called you during dinnertime to talk about an amazing new offer that just can’t wait? If so: how did that make you feel?

If you’re like most customers, pushy advertising tactics such as those mentioned above quickly fray the nerves of even the most gullible consumer. Customers want to engage with a brand on your own terms–no ifs, ands, or buts.

As a brand or service, you need customers to make your business grow. However, its important to get out of the mindset that pitching your product or service to your customer base is the only way to drive sales. What truly effective marketing does is ask customers to engage with a product or service and build a relationship with it. If you hard sell, you’re likely to scare away those customers not ready to commit, and you run the risk of losing them before they can truly fall in love with your brand.

Don’t promote the competition

Aggressive marketing is like giving your competition free advertising. When confronted with an unsavory campaign, most customers, if they’re in your market to begin with, will look for a similar service or product that’s a little less pushy. When a customer feels threatened by your marketing tactics, they’re more likely to seek out your competition for a more suitable fit.

The heavy hand of the regulator

Aggressively marketing may also have bigger implications than simply alienating your customer base–you might just have to face the wrath of regulators. The Federal Trade Commission and the American Association of Advertising are always on the hunt for brands and products using underhanded means to drive sales. Aggressively flooding the market with your product, spamming customers, and trying to force your competitors out of the free marketplace may have grave legal implications. Read up, think ahead, and if you’re still feeling like going full speed forward, you better lawyer up.

How to avoid being aggressive

Instead of making sales the bottom line of your marketing campaign, focus on building customer engagement with your brand. Although this may sound counter intuitive–naturally, you need sales to succeed in the marketplace–building a long lasting, real relationship with your customer will keep them coming back, and will have long reaching results that a one-off sale from an aggressive marketing campaign ever will.

So remember: assess your audience, come up with a campaign that will engage your customer, back off when necessary, and reap the benefits.