Stop breaking promises to your audience


If you are going to send a 3rd-party blast to your list on behalf of a non-endemic advertiser, you’d better have some pretty good behavioral or demographic data to justify why that list is likely to welcome that email. Even strongly loyal subscribers are likely to re-think their email preferences if you spam them.

Case in point: I’ve subscribed to Hearst’s Car and Driver in print on and off for more than 20 years. I use their website, read most of their emails, follow them on Facebook, have participated as a member of their survey panels and have 2 of their IOS apps. In other words, they should know a hell of a lot about me by now. Certainly they should know enough about me to exclude me from any e-blast with a subject line that begins with the phrase “Update your spring look”. 50-year-old guys in the suburbs with a wife and 2 kids do not generally think in terms of their spring or even their fall looks. New Stihl chainsaw? I’m listening.

Update your spring look with AG Denim, Calvin Klein & Ted Baker at 50-75% off on HauteLook. Shop Now. - mitchspeers@gmail.com - Gmail

So why did I even click through? The “from” address was Car and Driver, a brand I trust and have a long relationship with. I love their products and eagerly consume just about any content they produce. The promise inherent in an email from this magazine is that it is going to be in some way related to their product. As soon as I open the email, the promise is broken, trust is damaged, and here I am calling them out. Is that really worth a $20,000 eblast order? And for you B2B publishers who do this sort of thing, is it really worth a $1,500 eblast order? The correct answer is an emphatic “no”.

In a world of readily available enterprise data management platforms that make it easy to segment on the fly, there is no excuse for this kind of “spray and pray” email marketing, especially from a publishing powerhouse like Hearst. It actively damages your relationship with both brand loyalists like me and casual users as well.

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