This one may sound odd, so bear with me. I used to work in marketing, so I know that the technology for this challenge is already available and surprisingly doesn’t involve a lot of work or cost.
Earlier this month (March 2016) it was Mother’s Day in the U.K. The run-up to the day was unbearable for me, and far worse than Christmas, for there was a constant unwelcome stream of reminders right there on my computer screen and phone. I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters, especially from retailers (probably why I have a low bank balance – no willpower and everything was so pretty…). To cut a long story short, for more than two weeks, nearly every email in my inbox had the subject lines of ‘Have you forgotten your Mum?’ or ‘It’s not too late to get something for Mum’.
So I’ve already mentioned on this blog that anger features heavily in grief, especially after a sudden tragic death, and as Mother’s Day over here also coincided with the release of the coroner’s report, I very nearly replied to an awful lot of poor marketing executives with ‘my mother’s dead, **** off with your stupid reminders’. If ever there has been a time that I mass unsubscribed from email marketing, it was during those two weeks.
Yet email marketing systems, especially the ones used by big retailers, have great segmentation tools for customising content if marketing teams take the time to set them up correctly. Ever been asked to ‘Tell Us About You’ and then asked to tick skin colour or your interest, or your birthday for a special offer? Well that’s segmentation in action.
Every single person in the world will experience grief at some point in their life, and the loss of a parent is something most adults will face. So wouldn’t it be great if you could tick a box to say ‘no mother’s day (or father’s day) reminders thank you very much. Come to think of it, that could also extend to Valentine’s Day! Email marketing is one of the most intrusive methods of communication for sales, and subject lines like ‘Have you forgotten Mum’ are not at all well conceived.
So come on marketing people – get the ball rolling on proper segmentation and build better relationships through email – otherwise it’s just lazy use of the tools that email marketing software companies are providing to you all in the product you’ve bought.
Anyone else feel the same? (or am I just still angry??)
P.S. there’s an update on progress here
P.P.S. The BBC are onto it for Father’s Day, thanks to a rather insensitive campaign by Jawbone. Perhaps we will get some change after all!