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Rancid Slime and Email Marketing

Despite what some email marketers may tell you there are times when it’s really not appropriate to try and add someones email address to your list.
I just opened a pot of yogurt and instead of a smooth, creamy dessert there was a sticky brown slurry dotted with firm white chunks – looking like hot-and-sour soup, and not in a good way. No, this isn’t an email marketing metaphor, it’s just background to the story.
Food is a fairly delicate product, and supply-chain problems happen – it doesn’t take leaving yogurt out in the sun all day to turn it into something unpleasant. I’m not too concerned, but I thought I’d drop them a line and tell them that they had a problem (not because I want the traditional coupon for a free yogurt but because I want them to fix their problem and reduce the odds of the yogurt I buy next month trying to kill me).
They have a web site. I dodge past the full-screen pop-up “subscribe to our newsletter!” and go to their contact us link. Comment, complaint or question? Complaint, I guess.
They ask for a lot of information, almost all of it “required”. UPC Code, Plant Number, Production Line, Use By Date, Time Stamp, Store where it was purchased, city, state, comments. And my title, first name, last name, email address. And my email address again (no, people, that is *not* what double opt-in means). Phonenumber, Street Address, Building/Suite/Unit, City/Town, State, Zip Code, Country.
And whether I “Would you like to receive news, information and other offers from Brennan’s” – with the tempting options of “Accept” or “Not Accept”.
Skipping over the question of whether 23 fields ever makes sense for a subscription capture form, someone who’s contacting you to complain that your product looks like last months chinese take-out isn’t someone you have a close relationship with, someone who wants to receive your email. Odds are pretty good that they’re either going to decline your tempting offers and be slightly annoyed, or (accidentally?) sign up for them and hit the this-is-spam button when you mail them.
Neither is a good result, for you or them. Maybe you should wait to offer the opportunity to sign up for your yogurt mailing list until after you’ve resolved the complaint to their satisfaction, rather than when they’re making the complaint?

2 comments

  1.   Getting Red Carpet Ready: What Email Marketing Can Learn from the Movies by Hitting the Target says

    […] Lots of sites make use of every page to promote their list, which is a great idea. One place you might want to skip the call to action is on a complaints page if you have one. Wait until you’ve addressed their complaint to invite them to subscribe. Word to the Wise has a good post on this topic. […]

  2. Daily Delivery – Hollywood Tricks for Email | Deliverability.com says

    […] Lots of sites make use of every page to promote their list, which is a great idea. One place you might want to skip the call to action is on a complaints page if you have one. Wait until you’ve addressed their complaint to invite them to subscribe. Word to the Wise has a good post on this topic. […]

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