I know I’m going to catch some flack due to who this organization is, but I really feel compelled to make a comment.
I received an email last week and I’m going to share the screen shot of what it said.
My first response to reading this was, “seriously?”
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand what this agency is trying to do. They are trying to spin the fact that they’re going to send me promotional e-mails – what I consider spam – and that it’s free (as if I would ever want to pay for it?).
I actually had to read it twice because I thought maybe I missed some kind of value in this offering but the DMA clearly states what this “Sponsored Promotion” service is. Absolutely free I’m going to get information on events, product launches, brand announcements and more. Yippeeee! Makes me want to subscribe twice!
Here’s the mistake with this email – at least for me. The sentence that states, “…you’ll soon join the tens of thousands of marketers and their agencies who consider this a must-read for staying on top of the industry!” Just because I subscribe to the DM News doesn’t necessarily mean I am a part of the industry. I subscribe to Alpaca News because it’s an interest of mine, but I’m not in the industry. But that issue has more to do with list segmentation than spin so I’ll leave it at that.
Personally, I think that DM News print magazine offers exactly what I need to keep up with the industry – at least as far as my needs are concerned.
Maybe “real” marketers, agencies, and the big guys in the industry may feel differently about this email but as far as I’m concerned, this example can teach small marketers a big lesson. Be careful of the spin you attempt to put on your marketing pieces – whether it’s in a newsletter, email or a direct mail piece.
Telling me that I’m so valued as a reader that you’re going to send me sponsored promotions sends a mixed message. Just how valued am I? I’m so valued that you don’t respect my time and have no problems filling up my inbox with more junk mail that I’m not going to read?
Readers aren’t stupid. Promotions means ads, sales pitches, and the like. To me that is not industry news. When you see a “promoted” tweet on Twitter, what is it? An ad. When you see a “sponsored” story on Facebook, what is it? An ad. The DMA can put whatever spin they like on “sponsored promotions” it’s still ads.
So as a small business marketer, think about how you text reads to your reader. Small businesses have the advantage over a super huge organization like the DMA because we usually know and understand our target market and subscribers. Our lists are small by comparison. We may have competitors sign up for our lists, but we usually don’t get sign-ups from people who have no interest in what we’re offering. But when in doubt, have someone outside your organization read what you wrote to make sure you’re not spinning something the wrong way.
I’ll admit, I’ve made some really idiotic marketing mistakes in the course of all the incarnations of my career, but I can’t say I’ve tried to sell spam as a valued service to my readers.
Sorry DMA, but this is a HUGE marketing FAIL in my book. And this from an association who is full of marketing pros? Maybe I should really consider unsubscribing to the print publication too?