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Ken Magill

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Umm, What Year is This?

5/20/14
 
By Ken Magill
 
Is there anyone who doesn’t love the movie Groundhog Day?
 
I found Andie MacDowell’s character Rita Hanson to be insufferably pretentious. 
 
But I still love that movie—almost as much as Galaxy Quest.
 
Apparently, not only do email marketers love the movie Groundhog Day, they’re living it.
 
In a study of 400 companies, Experian’s Data Quality division found that 60 percent had experienced deliverability issues in the last 12 months.
 
Put another way, they’re still emailing like it’s 1999.
 
Experian’s study is the kind of news that makes me feel like I’ve been yelling into an empty 55-gallon drum for 15 years.
 
Every major issue that can cause email deliverability issues is under the list owner’s control: Drawing too many spam complaints, attempting to email too many bad addresses, and hitting too many spam traps.
 
And it’s not like this information is secret. A Google search on “email deliverability” in quotes yesterday brought back 2 million results.
 
That’s 2 million pieces of free professional advice that 60 percent of marketers using email have apparently failed to take.
 
It’s a safe bet that this isn’t the first time the companies who admitted to experiencing delivery issues have experienced them. They have probably experienced them over and over and over again.
 
If it weren’t for email marketers engaging in stupid activities, the entire deliverability industry would not exist.
 
No offense email deliverability folks. You know I love you. I’ll buy you a beer next time I see you.
 
It’s also a safe bet that blame for email marketers’ serial deliverability stupidity can be placed squarely at the feet of upper management.
 
Over the years, I have heard dozens of stories to bolster this theory. I’ve spoken with email managers who have been given wildly unrealistic list-growth demands. Just recently I learned of a retailer who demanded a 90 percent email-address capture rate from sales associates. These two scenarios beg for sloppy email address acquisition practices resulting in deliverability issues.
 
Then there are the rampant stories of executives in upper management forcing email managers to add purchased email lists to their files.
 
Every time I do a webinar on email marketing someone invariably asks: “Where can I buy email lists?”
 
The answer is: All over the friggin’ place, but nowhere safely. Purchased lists often contain bad addresses and spam traps.
 
Then there is the all-too-common story of email marketers who switch email service providers and add all the email addresses to their file their previous ESP deemed too dangerous to mail.
 
Come to think of it, if it weren’t for email marketers doing stupid things, a lot of people—me included—would have to find new careers.
 
Let’s hear it for email marketing’s version of Groundhog Day. May it never end.
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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: Bob Frady
Date: 2014-05-20 20:12:02
Subject: Spamtrap like it's 1999

Spam traps are a 90's technology that masks as a deliverability agent. Hit a spam trap and the knee-jerk reactions are (in order) - (a) you're mailing an old list, (b) you're buying a list or (c) you must be doing something wrong and you're a spammer. What happens when none of these are true? Go back to answer (a) and start again. I'm calling baloney - most spam trap errors legitimate marketers hit are due to one and only one reason - user input. It turns out that people makes mistakes and/or are downright malicious. Not exactly news to anyone who observes human behavior but one that seems lost in this particular discussion. Are we supposed to guess at what a user's intention is while they're on our page? Or maybe we use a pre-submission scrubbing service. But since spam traps don't bounce (because, you know, this IS 1999) you must be a bad mailer if you hit them. It's nonsense. So let's do ourselves a favor and turn the mirror where it (also) belongs - on delivery systems that (a) lump marketers in with spammers and (b) fail to provide any clear directions on how to remediate issues. (BTW - engagement as a deliverability tool is largely a myth.) You want to bang on someone for hard bouncing multiple times? Fine. You want to create a system that makes sure your mail is coming from where you say it is? Great! But relying on spamtraps as part of the solution is - in your own words - 1999 technology. Time for the delivery community to raise their games.
Posted by: A Roberge
Date: 2014-05-20 16:44:26
Subject: bang on!

so true, I feel less alone after reading this.
Posted by: David Fowler
Date: 2014-05-20 15:57:28
Subject: The Song Remains The Same

Great post, Ken
Posted by: Derek Harding
Date: 2014-05-20 15:06:29
Subject: Absolutely

You are completely right Ken, same old same old.
Posted by: David Baker
Date: 2014-05-20 15:03:11
Subject: Email like its 1999!~

Nice Post Ken, we live this every day..

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