Messaging Mistakes And Their Lesson: Test, Test, Test

As usual, the session on “messaging screw-ups” results in some awful-sounding scenarios that, fortunately, ended up being good learning moments.

At this morning’s “No, Wait! Our Messaging Screw-ups And What We Learned” session of MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit in Austria, one panelist had several interesting stories to tell. Chantal Bonefaas, Email Marketing Manager at ANWB, remembered one situation that, fortunately, took place before GDPR.

”We had a huge redesign of our website. Our email templates were boring. The redesign looked fantastic. We tested everything and then we moved to the production environment. Then we created a new newsletter in that new template. We were very excited. We had 1.3 million sends.

“And then we found out the unsubscribe link had disappeared. Luckily, this was before GDPR, but it was, of course, a disaster. We found out the acceptance environment is different from the production environment.”

Fellow panelist Hessel Boschma, Digital Marketer at Vodafone Ziggo, agreed that more than two environments can be tricky.

”I thought I was smart and would do hyperpersonaliztion in the shipping line. So I put the customers’ house numbers in the subject line. The email was about security. Our customers were not amused. Luckily, there was no legal issue. But there were some sweating nights.”

The panelists agreed with moderator Rick de Wit, Co–Founder/Managing Director at 100%EMAIL, that overworking oneself is many times the cause of mistakes. His own example bore this out. When a colleague went on holiday, he was filling in and working evenings for a client, one of the biggest coffee brands.

”In importing the data, you needed to select a value. I didn’t select an email address, instead I selected an opt-in. It overwrote the total database. The lesson is do not try to overwork yourself. It was my biggest mistake ever.”

With an example about automation, Chantal recalled building an email template with dialog. “Everything looked fine. We were backlogged for two years. We were busy and after two weeks a stakeholder asks about the email. We were getting negative feedback. In the dialog, it says if someone leaves the funnel, you send an email. But it wasn’t checked and everyone received an email every day.”

The lesson here: test, test, test.

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