Email's 6 Deadly Sins

For generations before Brad Pitt and the movie "Seven," people have used the seven deadly sins as a way of describing the failures of society, morals and values. For my sermon today, I am using the deadly sins as a framework to point up our shortcomings as email marketers, and to illustrate the flip side-the best practices that would erase our offenses. (I intentionally left out the fourth sin, for obvious reasons.)

View this from a marketer's perspective:

PRIDE is an overreaching belief in one's own abilities. Pride interferes with your ability to evolve your program. While many email marketers admit they are not doing everything they wish to and always have room for improvement, pride is in evidence when marketers fail to create situations or evaluations that truly challenge their program. It prevents you from taking an honest view of channel shift (people converting through another channel), and from sharing attribution for a sale (last click doesn't succeed in this equation).



ENVY is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situations. Given today's environment, I would imagine there is a lot of envy that exists in the email marketing ranks. But envy by itself can lead you down the wrong road, causing you to benchmark programs that are purely out of context for you and the relationships your customers will or can have with your brand.

GLUTTONY is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires. While the email industry will get a paltry 3% to 4% of the marketing pie, gluttony lurks in the form of consumer bandwidth. This will evolve as an issue for social media marketers as well, as the inbox is crammed with irrelevant messages that degrade the value of your brand. Picture your inbox with Disney Club email sitting right on top of your new Nigerian friend's urgent note to send funds. The social world is next, when the social inbox/page/tweet is crammed with irrelevant content. We must resist gluttony and trust the entire customer experience. Email and social media are just a piece of the story.

ANGER is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. Translated to our email marketing world: We live in an isolated channel, often complaining about being the 85th slide in a presentation. Anger can prevent us from collaboration. Less email may be the answer in many cases, and we need to get past this stage to force collaboration with our offline partners, media, search and social media partners to craft the best experience there is for the consumer. But it doesn't stop there. Collaboration is also the key to great analysis. Interpretation of results is so contextual that it needs many sets of eyes and opinions, especially when there are multiple channels involved.

GREED is the desire for material wealth or gain. OK retailers, this is YOU! We know you have a great ROI on email, but don't get greedy. You are only compounding the industry struggles by over-mailing and over-stimulating consumers with aggressive offers and promotions. We are numbing the consumer and creating conversion barriers to all.

SLOTH is the avoidance of work. We get lazy in this space with the work of segmentation, optimization and great communication planning. As such, sloth represents our inability to progressively manage a database, keep it clean, keep it relevant and recognize that people's life stages will take them in and out of our business lifecycle. Just because someone opts in today, doesn't mean they want to be opted in forever.

These are sins we all commit every day, week and month of the year. Admitting our faults is the first step towards redemption. Let's work as an industry, and as individuals, to overcome bad habits and be the best email marketers we can be.

2 comments about "Email's 6 Deadly Sins".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Kurt Johansen from Johansen International, March 9, 2009 at 11:35 p.m.

    Hey this a very fine way of describing how email marketing may be an enemy. But the results of email marketing when done correctly are awesome. Check it out

  2. bug menot, May 4, 2009 at 2:09 a.m.

    Add this one: NOT KEEPING IN TOUCH! It's the word. Outlook users, ad <a href="">Outlook Track-It</a>, which is a followup e-mail reminder addon for Outlook.

Next story loading loading..