Email Marketing Is No Space For Dumb Retargetting

How dumb do emails claiming to be smart actually have to be until someone calls time on them? I ask because there appear to be a lot of marketing bloggers talking about pet peeves with email this week. Whether it's mass batching of generic content, links that don't work or impersonal greetings, everyone has a view of what grates them about email.

So mine has just popped up in my inbox yet again, courtesy of Jet2, the UK airline, and Criteo. Now, let me express a long-held opinion right here and now that I think retargetting is the most annoying form of digital marketing out there today. Being constantly shown what you have been searching for as you continue to browse the Web is a little creepy and is guaranteed to spoil birthday present surprises via a shared computer. What's more, it's just so dumb. A lot of the time I've actually bought the thing I'm now being shown again and many other times I got it from another vendor. It's just annoying and a little spooky to be tracked in this way.

So what could be worse than retargeting through the fairly anonymous channel of digital display that nobody really pays much attention to? Why, being retargeted in your inbox -- which is way more personal to a consumer, of course.

What could be even worse that that? Why, we're suddenly in the realms of Jet2 and Criteo's dumbest campaign ever. Retargeting me, and doubtless many others, through emails with content that I cannot act on and is just of no use. So here's the deal. I searched for flights for next year during the school holidays. The price at Jet2 was exorbitant, as it was on RyanAir and BA. That was the end of the search. But then no, Jet2, courtesy of Criteo, sent me a campaign email reminding me that i can fly to my destination for just GBP40. So many points to pick them up on, but the number one is that I don't want to fly from the airport they suggest, although I do want to go to the destination. Number two, what are the chances of that GBP40 flight being available anywhere near the school term holiday dates I very clearly searched for?

OK -- so this is a very personal rant, but there's a point for all there. If you have data, use it intelligently. Jet2 must know that people searching for flights involving multiple kids during school holidays are only interested in the dates and number of people they have typed in. How can we suddenly change our minds and take the kids off school to fly on the cheapest flight of the year, which no doubt is some awful red-eye overnight affair?

So the advice to email marketers is simple. If you're smart enough to collect good data on prospects, don't use it in a dumb way.

1 comment about "Email Marketing Is No Space For Dumb Retargetting".
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  1. Mike Weston from Radiate B2B, September 22, 2016 at 11:08 a.m.

    Sean, I totally hear where you're coming from. The sense of affront from the likes of Jet2 giving you a 'personalised' offer that simply fails to understand what you want is something I come across time after time.

    But would you be as vexed if the offer had been genuinely relevant to you - or is it the whole business of being retargeted at all that bugs you?

    Getting truly relevant personalised retargeting offers IS possible... maybe a little hard, but possible. But is it going to be worth the effort in your view? Or are we sunk just for doing it?

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