Maybe your intentions are good, but your execution is sloppy. Perhaps you learned to market from the “Spray and Pray Institute.” It’s okay, though you can do better than a dumpster fire pitch. We all can.

DEFINITION: Dumpster Fire Pitch

A business communication where the sender hopes to motivate you (the receiver) to take action. It becomes a “dumpster fire pitch” when it is: generic, phony, disingenuous or SPAMMY.

My clients always ask me what makes a compelling pitch and we’ll discuss that in the next blog post, but first, it’s important to recognize if you are sending out boring, ineffective pitches and wondering why you never get the courtesy of a reply.

Below, I will deconstruct 3 Dumpster Fire Pitches that I received and share my thoughts as to why they are falling short.

Dumpster Fire Pitch #1 from a Big Nameless Bank.

(I’m not naming the bank, because I’ve received similar communications from 4 or 5 other banks and my critique applies to them as well!!) 


SUBJECT LINE: Correction: In gratitude this holiday season


[EXCERPT from email:]

“Hi, Laura. As the year comes to a close, I would like to express my gratitude for your continued trust and loyalty to BIG NAMELESS BANK. 

While we’ve all faced unprecedented challenges this year that we never imagined, this time has underscored the importance of relationships and connectivity, of humanity and kindness and of strength and resilience. These are things we’ve seen time and again through the actions of our customers and colleagues.”



Did I ever give this big nameless bank permission to email me “Holiday cheer?” Probably not. What is the goal of this email? Visibility? Do they think I will FORGET where my money is housed? 

Also, it is not a good feeling when you get a communication from your bank and it has CORRECTION in the subject. What are they correcting? Do they just want to MAKE SURE I open this email? Why? Because they were sure I was going to take my “trust and loyalty” (and dollars) to another BIG NAMELESS BANK?

This sentence: While we’ve all faced unprecedented challenges this year that we never imagined.

Hmmm. You are one of many VPs of BIG NAMELESS BANK with a salary, a 401k, health benefits, paid vacation, etc..and I’m a hopeful entrepreneur. 🙂 I somehow don’t think that the “unprecedented challenges” that we faced this year were the same. At all. Especially since you are writing on behalf of your employer.

They do have a CHARITY BASED call to action. They want ME to donate money to a cause that is near and dear to their hearts. 

They write: “During December, for every online purchase made with a BIG NAMELESS BANK credit card (debit card purchases are not included), BIG NAMELESS BANK will donate 10¢, up to $1 million¹” ***TEN CENTS*****Whoa!!!! 

WOW!! Up to ONE MILLION DOLLARS!! That is so nice of them!! (AND since they are only doing this with credit cards, they get to keep whatever ADDITIONAL percentage you pay per month, so they are doing WAY better on this deal than the non-profit, since most people do not pay off their credit cards every month.) 

Oh, by the way, would you like to know how much revenue BIG NAMELESS BANK made in 2019?

74 BILLION dollars!!  

And they are donating up to ONE MILLION?! And they want ME to donate too! I think I will write back and see if they can pony up a bit more since they have 74 BILLION DOLLARS to work with!! And I have, well, considerably less than that.  

Look, I am GRATEFUL that they are donating ANYTHING. The point here is that this email will ring HOLLOW to anyone who is truly struggling this year. And I am grateful to even have enough money to have a bank account, because a hell of a lot of people don’t even have THAT. 


MORAL TO THE STORY: I see small businesses send out emails that are generic like this one and they ring FALSE. If you are a small business owner, you can talk to me like we are colleagues, because maybe we are, but if you are BIG NAMELESS BANK, don’t write to me like we are best buds.  

From the extremely formal pitch to the super CASUAL pitch.

Dumpster Fire Pitch #2



Hi Laura

Is searching for new ways to grow revenue in 2021?

So are many others because the old adage is true: those that fail to diversify will die.

Diversify your product portfolio and generate new recurring revenue at scale with a white label end-to-end ecommerce platform.

[Link to some kind of proposal that I refused to click on.]



I’m sure I’ve sent out emails with RANDOM punctuation, like this one. I regret that now. I’ll try to do better in the future. 

It is SHORT and to the point!! I appreciate that!! I like the RHYME in the second sentence. those “that fail to diversify will die” that’s good. I appreciate the effort there. 

The problem is with this buzzword bingo packed sentence:

“Diversify your product portfolio and generate new recurring revenue at scale with a white label end-to-end ecommerce platform”

Let’s break it down:

“Diversity your product portfolio”

I don’t have a product portfolio. I sell consulting services. How do I diversify something I don’t have? Do you mean ADD a product portfolio to what I am doing? Just curious. 

“generate new recurring revenue at scale”

Can you give me any kind of a hint as to HOW this would work? A hint that doesn’t involve me clicking on that spammy link you sent or responding back to this message, because I don’t want to get the SUPER HARD SELL that I think I would get if I reply to you? 

“with a white label end-to-end ecommerce platform”

Not to nit-pick, but does it look like I can AFFORD a white label end to end ecommerce platform? Maybe yours is more affordable than what I am thinking, but that phrase “white label” has me a bit worried. 

Also, not to belabor the point, but WHAT EXACTLY AM I SELLING ON THIS FANCY ECOMMERCE PLATFORM? Seriously. Books? (that I haven’t written.) Courses? (that I haven’t created?) Something else? And please don’t tell me, “whatever you want” because that doesn’t really answer the question. 

And before you even ask, No, I don’t want to “set up a time to talk” where you can “walk me  through your system to learn more about it.” 



When times get tough, people seem to resort to the “spray and pray” version of sales and marketing. Some sales director for this company is grilling their sales team and saying things like, “It’s a numbers game” and you just have to “smile and dial.” The problem with this is that it is EASIER than EVER to ignore a pitch like this, so there is not a chance to connect with a prospect. 



I guarantee I’m not a good prospect for this company. I don’t need what they are selling. If they spent a bit more time QUALIFYING potential prospects and TAILORING their pitch, TO THE RIGHT AUDIENCE they’d be better off.



The very definition of “spray and pray” pitching. 


Message: Hi!

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Get your to have a 50+ points in Moz DA with us today and rip the benefits of such a great feat.

See our offers here:[Link removed to protect the identity of the guilty]

FYI: We also give big discounts for multiple plans.

thank you



Well, at least it is SHORT. 

Let’s break it down:

Do you want a quick boost in ranks and sales for your website?”



WOW. That was fun!!! Bear in mind that your reader will have many of the same thoughts/concerns skepticism that I have outlined here. 

If you want anyone to buy from you, you need the right message, delivered on the right platform, to the right audience. Oh, and you need to deliver it, RIGHT NOW. Times are tough and your ideal client needs help. They are looking for products and services that will make their lives easier. They are looking to work with experts they can trust. 

Instead of adding to the clutter and stress of this insane year, be the expert who helps your customer put out the fire, before it even starts. 

P.S. Do you have an example of an EXTREME dumpster fire pitch? If so, I’d LOVE to see it!! You can take out the names of the companies or people in order to protect the identities of the guilty!! I’ll be sending out a special DUMPSTER FIRE 2020 ornament to the absolute WORST #DumpsterFirePitch

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