How Email Marketing is Like Farting
By Ken Magill
[Author’s note: Do I really need to warn you adolescent crudity is about to ensue?]
I created something truly spectacular last week.
I passed gas with my wife and son in the car and the smell was so bad, the wife screamed at me to stop the car so she and my son could get out and wretch.
The smell can best be described as a combination of burning rubber, rotting flesh and sulfur.
Actually that’s not accurate. Those are three foul smells that came to mind and I figured combining them would paint an adequate picture. But it doesn’t.
It is safe to say there are no olfactory-specific words in any language that could accurately describe what I did to the air inside our Honda Pilot.
I had released a biblical plague and my wife and son were the ancient Egyptians.
Surely, they thought as they stood outside the car with their hands on their knees gasping for air, a rain of frogs would come flying out of my ass next.
Even with all the windows open, it took a minute or two for the car to clear out sufficiently so the wife and son could get back in.
“You’re lucky I haven’t had anything to eat yet today,” said the wife.
She and I have been together long enough that we’re comfortable farting around each other. And my son, well, he’s eleven.
But ever since that fart last week, whenever I fart now, the wife recoils with a look of abject horror on her face.
“You have no idea how bad that was,” she says.
“And I’m sure you will be reminding me how bad it was for the rest of my life,” I respond.
Now I should explain the wife is no hothouse flower. She sees redeeming qualities in me, for crying out loud.
One of the reasons I fell in love with her is she’s overcome so much adversity, which I will not detail here.
But that fart.
It was too much. And now she’ll never passively accept my farting the same way again, or at least not for a very long time.
What does this have to do with email marketing?
Well, email marketing is kind of like farting around people you know will tolerate it, like a spouse. They deal with the farts because you offer so much more to them than just your farts. The farts are just part of the package.
Most email marketers happily fart along without any major incident.
They’re farting on people’s mobile phones. They’re farting on people’s desktops. They’re farting on people’s tablets.
Heck, some email marketers design their farts to render properly by device.
But they’re still farts—not loved, but tolerated for the sake of the relationship.
And there is always the possibility for that one really bad fart.
One really bad email fart can erase all the good will in the relationship and eliminate all the tolerance for what used to be acceptable farts.
Even when you send them email that used to be business as usual—you know, they way I used to be allowed to fart around the wife—they will be reminded of the epic fart.
So remember, email marketing is like farting around a loved one. Don’t abuse the privilege and you should be able to fart happily away. Cut a really bad one, though, and it will be a long time before they tolerate your farts the same way again.