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Email “Worst Practice” Sinks Customer Experience

Un-personalized, irrelevant and lazy e-mail practices are a precursor to total disregard for the customer experience. As marketers, we owe our best customers more than a one size fits all, spam-like approach. We have the skills, the data, and the enabling technologies to increase e-mail effectiveness, especially in the loyalty marketing space, yet we often fail to abide by the simplest of disciplines.

A case in point.

Like most of my clients and colleagues, I attend a few industry trade shows each year. I gravitate towards the marketing-oriented events where I can network with other like-minded individuals, hear about the latest trends and pick up a new case study or success story. Sometimes, my company may even be a sponsor of the show, or exhibit our solutions on the show floor.

A few months back I registered for such an event. My company elected to provide funds for sponsorship in return for marketing and promotional considerations. We know it’s a good event, very targeted to our marketplace and run by a good organization which has a history of putting on an excellent educational conference and trade event. Unfortunately, their e-mail marketing practices lack any semblance of what’s right, what works or what’s expected. Instead of enhancing the customer experience, they leave me shaking my head.

Last Friday I received an “action” oriented e-mail telling me I only had a few days to left to register for the event. I am already registered! The e-mail did not address me by name (except in the address box), although I am in the event sponsor’s database as both a past attendee and a current sponsor. It clearly was the same message everyone else received – no personalization, no relevance and had the added embarrassment of carrying my company’s logo within the message given our event sponsorship. Do I really want my company associated with this message?

We all know why this happens. It is easier to blast than it is to target. Despite the rich data sets most of us have, we often lack the time or the enabling technologies to version each message based upon that data. It may cost us a few extra pennies more to do so, but it’s not the cost of the campaign that matters, it’s the return! At the least, if you are going to run trigger programs based upon a specific time or event, then the master e-mail list has to take into account an added field of data to properly align the list, the copy, and the offer to the trigger information.

Maybe you’ve heard the old saw about the shoemaker whose children are running around in barefeet. This “worst practice” email encounter might qualify as the 2011 version for Loyalty Marketers. We are supposed to be marketing people. We knew this stuff a long time ago.

If we truly want to change the landscape and enhance the customer experience for the benefit of our constituents and our own profitability then we have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Worst practices will drive best customers to the competition.

Learn how to use your data to drive personalization in our thought leadership blog here.

Bram Hechtkopf

Bram Hechtkopf