Don’t let automation drive your marketing

Technology’s impact on the marketing world has been growing exponentially. Each year sees amazing new platforms that give marketers more power and greater opportunities. However, they also create a dangerous temptation to completely eliminate the human role … and with it, do away with common sense. I’ve written about this in the past, pointing to Staples … Read more


I’ve railed before about automated email marketing campaigns that lack common sense. For example, when I buy products from a particular office supply store, it tries to resell me the identical product a couple months later with the message that it’s time to refill my order. No, I don’t need another shredder, thanks.

Just as annoying are the companies that send emails asking you to complete reviews of your recent purchases. A case in point was the email I received today from a major hardware retailer. While working on a home repair a few days ago, I needed to replace some rusty bolts, washers, and nuts, so I stopped in and bought a few new ones. I swiped my customer loyalty card when I made the purchase.

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Email marketing is an evolving, powerful tool that is widely misunderstood by many in the marketing community. Those with prejudices against the channel fail to see the opportunities it offers for highly personalized, always trackable marketing efforts.

That means providers of email marketing services must devote much of their effort to educating potential customers, so they understand the value that their services offer. Indianapolis-based email marketing pioneer Delivra takes a very aggressive approach to developing understanding on both a macro level and in how their sophisticated, user-friendly platform puts those opportunities within reach.

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Marketing inspiration can be found in many odd places … including my air conditioner. When I called a local contractor to come out and make sure my air conditioner was ready for this summer’s version of global warming, they took down all the usual information, including my email address.

The day before the scheduled appointment, I received an email from the owners. At first, I thought it was just the standard confirmation message, but it wasn’t.

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There’s a company from which I’ve been buying products off and on for the better part of three decades. I bought when they were primarily a catalog marketer, and kept buying after they made the move online. I don’t buy a lot from them — maybe something once every three or four years — but enough so they continue to stay in contact.

But I’m about to break off that contact and press the evil unsubscribe button. Why? Because whoever is in charge of their online marketing strategy seems to believe that the best way to maintain my loyalty is to stuff my emailbox with email after email — and the frequency keeps increasing.

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