You can call me Al

Maybe it’s the rain here in New York today that has dampened my spirits. Having spent the bulk of the last decade providing insight and direction to a wide range of marketers about the power inherent in email marketing; there are days like today when I think that all of this time and effort has been a fool’s errand. Maybe I should have followed my gut and went down the path to a career as a lawyer. No. I have been on a mission to help marketers build better and more cost effective and efficient relationships with their customers via leveraging relevant email messaging.

You spent multi-thousands of dollars on your website so that you could intersect your customers and prospects in the hope that you would capture all types of pertinent data from behavioral to preferential to transactional. The concept was pretty simple. With this data, you could build a richer and more engaging relationship with customers. The promise of all of this work would be less of a reliance on the millions of dollars you are spending in acquisition efforts ranging from lead gen to search expenditures. There would be NO logical reason that you would continue to spend huge dollars reacquiring your customers. Nestled within your customer email database, the profiles would be rich and the use of dynamic content messaging available in virtually every email platform in the market would allow you to customize your content to build stronger relationships between you and your customers.

With Your customer retention efforts under control, You would be able to focus more of your dollars on growing your base of new customers. This would be marketing nirvana. You customers would finally perceive your brand as relevant to them as you demonstrated that you understood their specific preferences for content and commerce. No more selling snow tires to Miami Beach residents. All of this seems pretty basic…almost freshman like in its approach. The collective of interactive product and solution sellers have been beating this drum for as long as I can remember.

Then today all of that common sense thinking goes down the drain. A wonderful message arrives in my yahoo mailbox with a from address “Birds and Blooms” Magazine @email.tasteofhome No joke. Subject line reads “Wendy, we need your help ! It’s an email that is pitching “Wendy” on a Free issue of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Magazine. In my life…I have been called a lot of names, but I can assure you that “Wendy” was never one of them. There is so much wrong here that needs to be called out. First of all, I am not sure how my email address arrives on the Birds & Blooms magazine list. It’s possible that I have opted in at some point in the last 10 years for third party messages and this email is a product of that check box. How my email address (which is listed in the email) and “Wendy” can get confused as this email gets sent thru the platform is yet another question.

In 2000, problems like this; however painful could be overlooked due to the immature nature of the medium. Folks…there is NO excuse for these type of problems and mistakes in 2012. As a publisher, content provider, merchant; you don’t get many secondchances with prospects and customers after you ruin your reputation by sending silly messages like this. You should know better. You should run your business better. If you don’t have the right people building your campaigns, sending your mail, monitoring all of the nuances around these programs…Fire them and get a new crop of professionals who take stuff like this seriously.

We can all plead guilty to looking upstream and getting excited at all of the new and cool applications, social media venues , mobile messaging platforms, e-readers in the marketing toolkit . In our zeal and enthusiasm to embrace the new, let’s not forget just how important channels like email continue to be in building and/or crushing customer relationships.

I don’t know Wendy but I am quite sure that she is probably a lot more interested in a free copy of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking than I am. As of right now…the publisher will never know.


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