Apple teaches us about how bad push marketing is for you and your customers. This is a hard lesson for anyone to learn in business, but one would think a company as successful as Apple would know it by now. When you push your marketing at people it can have damaging and disastrous results. No matter how great your product or service is, how great your offer is or how good your intentions are, people hate having things forced upon them. Apple taught us this lesson all over again with a poor marketing decision to help promote their new iPhones and Apple watch.

As part of the launch for Apple’s new iPhone’s, Apple pushed a copy of the new U2 album Songs of Innocence, onto half a billion iTunes accounts. Apple paid the price for everyone to have a copy of that album, in more ways than one. Half a billion people found they had “purchased” the album, without their permission. Although the album was actually free and no one actually purchased the album, the fact it was forced on people resulted in a huge backlash, which has lasted for a week so far.

The resulting bad publicity saw websites around the world, offer advice on how to remove the album from your iTunes account. One might argue that publicity good or bad can be helpful, but not in this case. Apple themselves were forced to respond, by providing a way which showed users how to delete the album they never purchased or wanted.

So what’s the lesson here?

People dislike having what YOU want, forced on them.

Even though the album was free. Even though I got the album and it seems pretty good to me. Even though U2 has a large, international fan base and have won more Grammy Awards than any other band in music history… no one asked for the album. The album was forced on them.

The lesson here is that when you push marketing at people, they push back. Instead, earn permission and act within the expectation of the relationship you have with your audience.