Tag Archives: E-Mail Marketing

The Importance of Data Curation

A curator at a museum is responsible for the acquisition, care, and in some cases the removal of items from the museum’s collection.  Data curation is a similar concept, but instead of museum pieces the data curator is responsible for the data used for marketing efforts.  With good data curation, amazing things can be accomplished.  Sometimes so good it is a little scary.  With bad data curation, let’s just say that can be scary also.

A classic example of good data curation (combined with excellent execution) is the Target case in which the data archived and utilized was incredibly good.  So good, in fact, that the Target data people had figured out that a teenage girl was pregnant.  Even before her father knew.  Based on the types of products purchased by the girl, Target was able to determine that the girl was pregnant.  From the Forbes article:

. . . .So Target started sending coupons for baby items to customers according to their pregnancy scores. Duhigg shares an anecdote — so good that it sounds made up — that conveys how eerily accurate the targeting is. An angry man went into a Target outside of Minneapolis, demanding to talk to a manager:

The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.

On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”

It happens the other way also.  Bad data curation can alienate a customer in a heartbeat.  In case you have not figured it out yet, my name is Michael.  You can imagine my surprise when I saw this e-mail the other dat with the salutation “Dear Larry”.   Dear Larry!!

Bad Data Curation

!!  Sorry Teradata – but you lost me.  The irony here is this e-mail has the sub head “How to understand and use data to drive customer engagement”.  WOW!  The first question that came to my mind was “whether this just one off in some list.  I got Larry’s e-mail, Larry got Amy’s, Amy got Justin’s, etc.  Maybe everyone in their list had a bad “to” field.

Bad Data Curation Can Undermine Your Best Direct Marketing Efforts.

You can’t make mistakes like this folks!  There is no recovering from it.  Do yourself a GIANT favor and hire good data people, (or a skilled, reliable agency).  Either way, TEST and RETEST your e-mail blasts and other customized communications BEFORE you send them out.  Especially if you are soliciting business in the area of data management.

You can’t do good things with bad data!

Bad E-Mail Marketing – A Quick Case Study


Sometimes when you see art, it is hard to describe why you like it.  You just like it – call it gut reaction, it “moves you”, etc.  It works the other way also.  Maybe you don’t like something, and when challenged to describe why, you may struggle.

I received an e-mail from Best Buy the other day – and right out of the chute I did not like it.  I suppose it is not very compelling reading for you if i leave it at that “I just don;t like it” so I will break it down into a couple of tangible reasons.

Let’s start with the overall premise – of Best Buy trying to capitalize on Valentine’s Day.  While they might have a slight advantage over Ace Hardware or Bass Pro Shops, Best Buy does not exactly scream “Valentine’s Day” to me.  But – I will cut them some slack here – they have to try something so I will look past the obvious overall disadvantage they face in this situation.Best Buy e-mail 54

Let’s take a look at the subject line – which we all know is terribly important in e-mail marketing.  “Sweet deals for your Valentine + free shipping on everything” is the subject line.   Sweet deals!  That’s your best shot?  Hearts on a TV screen?  Marketing Genius at work!  Let’s face it – Valentine’s day is for Women – and men go along with it for obvious reasons.  If you had to go with a TV (a stretch for Cupid anyway) maybe a movie scene on the screen.  Something that appeals to women – ‘The Notebook”?

How about the other half of the “offer” – “free shipping on everything“.  Newsflash to Best Buy – we all live in the land of Amazon Prime – and frankly free shipping as an offer “ain’t what it used to be”.    Here is an idea they could have used;  What if they were to partner with a spa like Mario Tricoci and offer a free pedicure for the lady with all big screen TV purchases.  Perhaps we have just entered the land of interesting!

If I were to sum up my overall opinion of this effort in one word – it would be “forced”.  I am sure it is on a promotional calendar of some e-mail marketing person at Best Buy.  So they checked it off of their to do list – however ineffective their effort turned out to be.  Don’t make this mistake.  Your interactions with customers are precious, and should always be your best work.  Don’t waste your precious moments.  Capitalize on the opportunity to show people something great!