Stupid Media Watch: Finally, Someone Speaks Up
By Ken Magill
Hallelujah! Suweet Jesus!
Finally, someone who knows their ass from a marketing hole in the ground, someone who could actually pour pee out of a boot with directions on the heel, someone whose happy meal has all its fries, took the time to respond to some consumer-reporter marketing jackassery.
The marketing jackassery in question was published in, of all places, the Wall Street Journal last week.
“Stores Smarten Up Amid Spam Flood,” said the headline.
“Retailers have started to wear out their welcome in customers' email inboxes, forcing stores to rethink their spam strategies,” said the lead.
“Ugh,” I thought as I began to read the piece. “Another consumer reporter who hasn’t taken even 15 seconds to learn the difference between big-brand commercial email and Viagra spam.”
Yes, some big brands spam, but the implication in the article’s headline and lead that all commercial email is spam is intellectually lazy and insulting. And it was printed in the world’s leading business newspaper, no less.
The piece went on to describe some of the techniques retailers are using to limit unsubscribes, such as mailing less frequently.
Then came the comments, which were mostly predictably ignorant. One even contained a reference to Sarah Palin, a woman who by my reckoning has become the new incarnation of Godwin’s Law.
In 1990, Mike Godwin observed that the longer an online discussion takes place, the more likely someone will criticize a point by comparing it to Hitler and/or Nazis. The concept has since been labeled Godwin’s Law.
I would like to propose Magill’s Law: The more comments after an article, the more likely it is someone will make a reference to Palin’s perceived stupidity.
But amid all the nonsense was one comment that stood out by demonstrating an actual retail-friendly understanding of the subject matter at hand:
“This article has some great insights but misses the mark with its headline and making the false assumption that Neiman Marcus and the others are ‘spamming,’” the comment began.
“The key difference between spam and permission email marketing (and the reason it generates revenue as your article points out) is that the consumer opts in to the brands advertising, hence the permission side of this equation,” the comment continued.
“Spam is annoying, costs us time and money and generally is not practiced by a legitimate marketer. However, permission email marketing is very effective as you point out here; at least you do by a different name. So let's remember for your readers and commenters’ sakes, you are talking about opt in email not spam. If someone signs up for Neiman’s emails or Nicole Miller's they have provided permission for the brand to send them special offers and info. They can always opt out. That trust does get violated if they send irrelevant emails or too many emails (which is very subjective).
“Not everyone has to like the many emails they have signed up for but they should not call it spam if they invited the brands in to their inbox. The companies that can make these emails valuable and not abuse the trust and permission contract, are the ones that will generate significant ROI and further strengthen their relationship with these customers.”
The comment’s author: Simms Jenkins, CEO of BrightWave Marketing.
Jenkins’ comment is the first time I can remember ever seeing someone from marketing defending the craft after a piece of consumer-reporter idiocy. And I’ve read a ton of consumer-reporter idiocy when it comes to marketing over the years.
Bravo Simms. The only way to counteract the marketing ignorance that is rampant in consumer reporting is to politely explain to the idiots where they blow it.
The reporter probably won’t learn anything, but maybe some readers will.