Deception, Common Sense and E-Mail Marketing

February 13, 2009
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In my work here at LashBack, I’m exposed to hundreds (even thousands) of marketing emails a day. I see all the trends, all the ploys, and all of the marketing techniques exercised by a myriad of companies in the industry. This includes deceptive and misleading methods. One of the most popular of these approaches is […]

In my work here at LashBack, I’m exposed to hundreds (even thousands) of marketing emails a day. I see all the trends, all the ploys, and all of the marketing techniques exercised by a myriad of companies in the industry. This includes deceptive and misleading methods. One of the most popular of these approaches is feigning familiarity with the consumer.

“LINDA! Cheap pharmacy pills here!”

“Tell me where to send the check.”

“Bob, I found a job for you.”

There are usually some signs that, no, someone really doesn’t just want to send you a check, but the point I’m trying to make is that with some common sense, deceptive marketing should be put to rest.

First of all, consumers really shouldn’t be falling for this, we’re surrounded by advertising in our everyday lives and I believe as a culture we’ve almost become desensitized to it. A lot of people have enough technological knowledge to differentiate between an automated subject line intended to give the illusion of familiarity, and an actual email from a friend or relative who, for example, may or may not be sending a check to you. There are definitely a number of consumers who open these emails innocently expecting what was deceptively offered in the subject line. If so, wouldn’t it be a rude awakening to find out that you’ve been had? Personally, if I was offered something fantastic, only to find out seconds later my participation is necessary, or there is some other hoop I have to jump through, I would feel annoyed, frustrated, or even betrayed by the company sending that email. Thus, although my interest was initially piqued, I now out of sheer spite do not want to follow through with the offer. Although this response may not be typical, it’s definitely plausible, and although a lot of email marketing campaigns are based on quantity, not quality, I imagine the deceptive marketers are vying for the margin of innocently-clicking-consumers to be high enough to obtain a profit. This method of ‘dumping’ an ad onto an email list and hoping you get a response might be easy, but it’s messy, it doesn’t promise good results, and can easily hurt reputations.

This brings me to my second point. A marketer with some common sense should be able to see the possibility of this happening. If consumer loyalty is important, shouldn’t being honest and truthful with potential customers be equally important? Unfortunately, this is not always the case, but for the good of all parties involved it should be. Not only would it improve relationships between consumers and distributors, it would also help the reputations of marketing companies, further differentiate between legitimate companies and subversive spammers, and improve economic relationships.

~Loren Carvalho

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