When this email landed in my inbox, it piqued my interest. My days at Custom Mattress were long ago and relatively short-lived–spanning my first four post-college years. The company closed its doors a couple of years after my departure, and I haven’t crossed paths with anyone from that phase of my life for years. Naturally, I was curious. Who could be orchestrating that blast from my past?

When I opened the email to investigate, It took about 1.67 seconds to realize that I had been played. The sender had simply mined information from my LinkedIn profile and used it to, ahem, reach out to me in a pseudo-personal way. Into the electronic recycle bin it went.

That should have been the end of the story, but I received several additional emails to follow up. (Apparently I need to update my spam filter.) Finally, I received a phone call to follow up on the emails. The woman on the other end of the phone sounded quite chipper and was eager to connect with me. Unfortunately for her, my mild annoyance had morphed into outright hostility at her deviance. I let her know that I thought she had gone too far–in no uncertain terms.

I’m a marketer. I understand the importance of making connections and the value of data mining. The one key element that people most often miss, however, is sincerity. Insinuating a connection that isn’t genuine leaves people feeling duped, and the effort falls flat. If you don’t have a real connection to me, don’t fake it. You’ll get much further by being up-front and honest.

Enough said.