The New York Times Email Mistake: Can It Happen To You?

By now you probably know about the New York Times’ little email error on Wednesday, December 27. But if you don’t, here’s the nutshell: The Times sent a ‘Cancellation’ email to 8.6 million people, presumably every single one of their online email subscribers. The email was meant only for those who actually subscribe to the paper’s home delivery service.

First the Times claimed it was spam, then blamed their email service provider Epsilon, and finally fessed up; The Times did it themselves.

As I’m sure we’re all wondering: How exactly did it happen? And how can you avoid it? Only people at the Times know for sure, but it’s possible, in fact easy, to guess. In fact, it’s a worthwhile exercise, because it may help you to avoid copying their mistake.

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Business is Not a Competition

Business is not a competition“Let’s see who wins!”

That’s what I was asked recently. “Sounds great to me,” I answered. “Are we revving up our stock cars at the Brickyard? Are we pedaling up the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire? Are we heading toward Heartbreak Hill while running the Boston Marathon?”

No. We were in a business setting, discussing a PowerPoint template or something like that. We were in a place where competition doesn’t belong.

Did I just say that? There are places where competition doesn’t belong? Yes, I did.

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How Do You Achieve Total Marketing Immersion (TMI)?

Total Marketing Immersion goes beyond marketing.

PowerPoint, Flash, Whiteboards, Video, Podcasts, Banners,
Whitepapers,
 Webinars, eBooks, Newsletters, Surveys, Social Feeds, Blogs…

Anyone else sick of it all? Maybe I’m a little tired from playing with my children (admittedly something I put every ounce of energy into), but I feel like I’m starving for something. The products and tactics above have become unbearably dull to me.

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Another email service provider breached. A laughing matter?

Don't laugh at the Epsilon data breachBy now, you’ve heard about the massive breach at Epsilon on March 30.

First, I should tell you, this is no laughing matter. There’s lotsa bad here. Anybody guessing that a few email addresses are not a big deal should know that an enterprise marketing service provider like Epsilon probably got hacked by very determined and highly motivated professional spammers. These guys know the value of an email address, both a lousy one scraped from the web and a good one stolen from a provider to Fortune 100 companies.

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GMail Changes Ad Display Rules – Now What?

Google is changing the game for email marketers – again. They’ve reconfigured their ad-delivery mechanism to bring GMail users fewer, better-targeted ads. That they’ve changed some code is not a big deal. That they’ve further honed their Priority Inbox technology to drive targeted content is.

Priority Inbox is already a turbocharged email engagement algorithm designed to funnel only the inbound emails that are most likely to be opened to the reader’s immediate attention. Everything else goes to the regular ole’ inbox. It’s not in the junk folder, but more like email purgatory.

Well, Google figures, if you can make a piece of code do that, you can certainly make it prioritize the ads that display while a reader uses GMail.

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Marketing Spin: How Far is Too Far?

Marketing Spin: How Far is Too Far?Try #1:

While trying to start my car the other day, I heard that terrible clicking sound that you hear when the key doesn’t do what it is supposed to. I also felt that instant of internal disappointment, knowing that something I trusted had suddenly let me down. A few more times turning the key didn’t change things; the battery was dead. (The next sound I heard was the clinking of money ringing in my ears). I was going to have to find another way to get to work.

Then it hit me: the dead battery was a lot like some email marketing campaigns I’ve seen. You know when you see a brilliant subject line from a trusted sender, you open the email, and are disappointed by the content? It turns out not to be the insightful and enjoyable read you thought you were getting, but instead just another lame pitch. Don’t be the dead battery in your reader’s inbox.

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From: sales@company.com (aka DELETE ME)

Readers delete impersonal emails

What is the best email address to use for your email marketing messages?

If you’re struggling with this question for your own campaigns, congrats! You’re thinking pretty deeply about optimizing engagement and interactivity with your readers. There are basically two schools of thought: 1) Your readers want a ‘personal’ approach and will respond to an email from their friendly sales executive named Joe instead of an impersonal, faceless corporation, or; 2) Your readers understand your brand and will welcome news and updates from your company, but will feel ‘tricked’ by your attempt to use a personal name.

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