calling_out_bad_marketing_optMaybe he caught me on a bad day. It’s been a tough (and cold) week. Today I finally decided enough was enough. Finally, I would hit back at some of the truly awful bad marketing examples I receive via email (very likely via marketing automation – don’t get me started!) and give them some advice.

The bad marketing email

Here’s what I received (names changed to protect the guilty) with a bit of commentary added on the side.

Hello Kristin,

I am Suzy Sunshine from XYZ, I will be your primary point of contact during your trial. You can call me Suzy. (Gosh thanks, first name basis already, wow – I feel special!!)

I have noticed that you are the Managing Director of Kristin Austin (d’oh forgot the rest of my company name). And, I believe that you have an in-depth knowledge on Online Marketing & client reporting too! And I feel you are the right person who can analyze and understand our product deeply. (Really, you gained that knowledge how – you felt it from the vibe of my hitting the submit button on your trial? What utter crap!)

I noticed you have linked one of your AAA accounts and generated a report, Great!! (Oh, Suzy, your ability to use the English language horrifies me).

I was hoping you could create Dashboards as well and get to know its importance. At Disneyland, you don’t spend the whole day on the Matterhorn, do you? So, enter into our Disneyland and experience all the rides we provide. And also I would love to give you a tour of our Disneyland. 🙂 (WOW – just wow, you’re likening your pretty boring, and in my eyes, unproven software product to Disneyland – the ‘funnest’ place on earth – ummmm, no. Just no.)

We can arrange a private live demo of our software to you and your team. Just hit ‘reply’ and let me know when to call you, OR feel free to go through this calendar and book a slot according to your availability. (Thanks, but no. My team and I will trial it on our own).

Yours Suzy – Marketing Executive (just goes to show anyone can call themselves a marketer these days)

So what stood out in this piece of bad marketing?

Well let’s see. This short piece of marketing was supposed to;

  • welcome me to the XYZ family
  • make me feel special enough to consider staying with and paying for the XYZ software (that we’re just trialling)
  • Confirm I’d made the right choice
  • Give me someone to turn to IF I needed help.

Instead in 5 paragraphs of rubbish I got;

  • Someone who very clearly showcased they have no idea about me or my business
  • Every single paragraph starting with I or We (about them, not me)
  • 17 uses of the word I, me, my, our, we (about them, not me)
  • Only 15 mentions of anything to do with me (and I’m not really sure we can count the two uses in the rhetorical question).
  • A piece of marketing that makes it very clear that I am clearly less important than they are.

Truth be told, I don’t care about XYZ co, Sunshine or their bad piece of marketing. What irritates me is that it’s very symbolic of the rubbish that’s hitting all of our inboxes on a daily basis. The total self congratulatory crap that looks like it’s about the customer when in actual fact it’s about the company. They look like they’re caring about the customer, but really all they care about is themselves.

It reminds me of Bette Midler in Beaches when she’s rabbiting on about how marvellous her performance was and then she stops and says

Enough about me. What do you think about me?

Of course, if you’re truly as talented and interesting as Ms Midler, then feel free to rabbit on all day. But let’s face it, most of us aren’t.

Self congratulatory rubbish (aka bad marketing) dressed up as marketing needs to stop and it needs to stop now!

Basic marketing rules to avoid bad marketing:

The rule is if you want your customer to feel truly loved, then your attempt to reach them must be real. It must be completely focussed on them (not you). Rewrite your outreach love so that it mentions them (you, your) 5 times to every time you mention yourself (me, I, we, our, product name, co name, etc). And make sure you get their name and company name correct. There’s nothing like telling me how much I mean to you by getting my name wrong.

Yes, we’ve probably all done it – probably even me, yup, guilty, at some point. But please people, let’s all make a concerted effort to make customer stuff, actually customer centric – you know, be all about them, not ourselves.

Rant over…for now.

Of course if you’d like help with any of your marketing to make sure it doesn’t fall into the bucket of bad marketing that completely peeves the customers you’re sending it to (or worse, make them ignore it completely), feel free to get in touch.