Clean Up After Yourselves, Marketers

You know what can really suck? When a piece of marketing is spot on … until it isn’t. Let’s look at a couple email examples and see what went awry.

You know what can really suck? When a piece of marketing is spot on … until it isn’t.

Let’s take a look at this email from American Red Cross … I’m a blood donor, and I regularly receive emails from the nonprofit, alerting me about blood drives and more. And hey, when the subject line is “MELISSA, This is Your Week’s Best Email,” it’s got to be good, right?
Red Cross email
All right, this email is definitely on brand for me … photo of a puppy hugging a kitten? Check. Photo of a baby seal with a super cute smile on its face? Check. Let’s read on.

Red Cross emailOhmigod that puppy is so happy look at that … wait a second.

Red Cross Email CloseupIn the final paragraph, the email reads: As an AB donor, MELISSA, your help is especially important.

Oh really? I’m an A+ donor.

I’ve been donating blood off and on for the past 18 years. I’m registered as an A+ donor. So where did they get AB?

Look, it’s not the end of the world, but the incorrect personalized data stopped me dead in my tracks. And no, I didn’t schedule a donation in May.

And in April, a reader forwarded me the following email he received from Inc.:

inc-emailThe reader (who asked me to not share his name) let me know that, while Cornell University might hit the Inc. 5000 requirements, he does not work for Cornell. He’s also not an officer of trustee of the university. He is an alum (Go Big Red!) and an active volunteer, and sure, maybe his email address is

But so are the email addresses of a lot of Cornell students.

The lesson to be learned from these emails? Clean your lists, marketers. According to Experian Data Quality, dirty data costs marketers approximately 12 percent of their revenue. It makes you look bad, can cost you a sale or at least get people talking about you in ways you didn’t want them to do.


Author: Melissa Ward

Melissa Ward is the managing editor for Target Marketing, and she has opinions! More importantly, she's a nerd for great copy and design, a disciple of authenticity, and really loves it when marketers get it right.

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