The Secret Marketer on poorly targeted emails

Secret Marketer

I’m sure the only thing that stops me finding the time to develop an award-winning, ground-breaking campaign is the constant stream of emails to my inbox.

I’m sure you’ll join me in congratulating Thierry Breton, the chief executive of European IT services company Atos Origin, who plans to ban all internal staff emails by 2014. I’m not sure how practical this decision is for a technology company, but I understand the frustration that led him to it.

For my sins, I appear to have got myself on a list of suckers who would be interested in datalists. As a result, I get at least 10 emails a day from datalist providers. You know the sort: “Hi – are you looking for targeted email lists? I have been looking at your website and we’ve tracked over 15,000 unique customers who meet your target customer profile. We guarantee 90% data accuracy as these lists are verified once every 60 days. Can we set up a call and discuss further? – Patricia.”

If those trying to sell me customer data don’t target me properly (or worse, lie), why would I opt for them?

Well no, Patricia. You see, although you guarantee data accuracy and verification, I don’t believe you. Why? Because you have sent me the same email over 20 times in the past six months, and although each time I have clicked the ‘unsubscribe’ button, they still keep coming.
What’s more, I have had the same worded email from Ashley and Kaitlyn and Shannon.

And that’s not all. My web analytics people tell me no one from those domains has ever logged onto my website.

The sad thing is I am looking for some customer data, but if the people trying to sell it don’t bother to research or target me properly (or worse, lie), why would I opt for their services?

The problem, I think, stems from the fact that this marketing channel is free. It leads many companies to simply not care about targeting or segmentation. After all, if emails are free, why should they bother with the cost and expense of proper targeting?

But the price we pay for this freebie is failure: moments after Patricia’s email hit the trash, another campaign, whose creative was sweated over for hours, which was carefully targeted by one of the best account planners, and which bore the just-right subject headline to whet my appetite (the result of a long meeting between client and agency) followed close behind. All it took was an involuntary muscle spasm of my forefinger…

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