But I try to learn through what might be the mistakes of others. Mostly emails confuse and confound me. Why do the authors of these over familiar "identiofferings" all insist on telling me personally (through MailChimp) that I am uniquely placed to benefit from their business?
But this afternoon I got a different email. I got excited. And the reason I got excited was that it appeared they'd done a bit of homework:
"We mystery shopped you. Would you like to know how your people sound on the phone?" said the shiny, personalised mass-email.
And there was more...
"We mystery shopped your team and we have identified 7 areas that could can be improved upon, based on this one call."
Ooooohhhhh. That sounds good. And very clever.
But utter nonsense because we're quite specialist and can smell a krank-call at 500 yards.
However, the clarion call to "phone now!" and find out what these Magnificent Seven areas for improvement were got the better of me. I had to know if this was the speculative mail that would break the mould. So I did something I have never done in response to one of these mails...
I rang. And it went like this:
Me: I just got an email from you telling me to call you and that you've discovered seven areas to improve my business.
Them: Did you?
Me: Yes. Can I speak to someone about that, please? It sounds great!
Them: Errrm....please hold.
A full 4 minutes and 19 seconds later the voice returned.
Them: There's no one here.
Me: When will they be back?
Them: They didn't say.
Me: Can I leave a message, please?
Them: If you like. What is it regarding?
Me: Errrr...the email you just sent me
Them: Which email?
This Kafkaesque loop may well have continued had I not aborted the call for fear that my brain would implode and cause consternation amongst my colleagues.
Apart from the catharsis of writing and sharing this worrisome (and common) story of personalised mass marketing gone terribly wrong, the point I want to make is this: in a world where badly applied and overused technology masquerades as good marketing, authenticity has never been more important or more valuable.
If you are what you appear to be and serve up just what you promise then people will work with you. You don't even need to put a cherry on the top.
It's not very complicated, honest.