Are We as Stupid as Some Email Marketers Think We Are?

i am an idiot businessman cropped

Or Maybe I’m on a special list of empty-headed business people.

But I’m hit by way too many email marketing campaigns that must assume that I’m exceptionally gullible. Perhaps I’m the only person that hates this stuff, but I’m going to share the agonizingly long text of an intelligence-insulting promotional email so you can judge for yourself.

Several normal emails kicked off the campaign promoting an online workshop. That was fine. I’m interested in the topic and am ok getting marketing missives.  But, then came the first ‘oops’ email follow up with a lame ‘I goofed’ message. And then the pathetic ‘boo boo mistake’ attempt that you see below in appropriate scarlet letters sneaked into my in box.  Does this woman really think I will fall for this?

Please marketers. I’m begging you. Write great copy. Be persuasive. Show me value. Share your wisdom. Ask for the order. All that is fine. Just don’t take me for an idiot with this kind of tripe which they must teach in ‘Take Your Customers for Chumps Online Marketing School’:

Am I the only one that hates this stuff?

Hi Newt,

I made a big boo boo mistake this afternoon.

Just as my team and I were getting ready to close down
registration for the Website Creation Workshop, I
accidentally sent an email out to the wrong list.

Now let me explain….

I got started a bit late in the promotion cycle with one
of my partners and we didn’t do our preview
interview call until just yesterday.

Since the call that was to introduce me to her readers was
only a day before the registration deadline, we talked and
we both agreed,  that extending the deadline by a couple of
days was the right thing to do.

I really would rather have not done this, but its my own
fault for scheduling a teleseminar the day before the deadline.

Because as I said in a post on the blog earlier today,
[Link removed to protect the innocent]
I need to finish getting the Workshop ready. And in particular
my team needs time to get the remaining Student Project
websites setup.

So today as I was sending out the email to the sublist
of people who were "Friends of Lynn" only, I
accidentally included a whole bunch of other email
sublists that I actually wanted to *exclude*. Aaggh!

Now a whole bunch of people got this "deadline extended"
email that probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Here is what I am doing then. I am extending the deadline
for you too until 11:00am Eastern Time, Saturday morning,
March 25th.

[Link removed to protect the innocent]

I really do need the time to finish getting ready for the
Workshop, but I feel it is only fair that you get this
extension now too. I and some of my staff will just have to
work more this weekend.

We’ll get over it though. And after you register we will
have your Student Website ready as soon as we can.

Here is the link for you to register…

[Link removed to protect the innocent]

This Taking Us for Idiots Email Marketing May Work, But I hate it All the Same

I guess this must work often enough to keep annoying me with it. On the other hand, it might explain why email marketing too often deserves a dubious reputation.

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  1. Posted March 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Permalink


    No, you’re not the only one who hates this stuff. I’m constantly amazed at how people who position themselves as some kind of authorities want to portray themselves so inept at e-mail. Maybe making a fool of yourself is good business, but it sure erodes your professionalism.

  2. Posted March 27, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi Newt, My guess is that it’s a particular flavour of email marketer that you’re referring to. I’ve started seeing this tactic in my inbox as well, but only from the folks who are trying to convince me to buy a ‘system’ of some sort – never seen it from a more mainstream company. Problem is, this must work otherwise they wouldn’t do it. And things that work get adopted. Just like online video started in the back alleys of the internet and then moved onto everyone’s site, I’m sure we’ll see a similar tactic move into mainstream marketers’ toolkits.

  3. Posted March 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    It would be okay once in a while, but the “gurus” of this kind of marketing are all copying each other with it and so my mailbox (or spam folder)ends up with enough of this supposedly personal oops–once in a lifetime mistake– stuff for many lifetimes. Good post.

  4. Posted March 28, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi Newt,

    I’m in complete agreement with you on this. What I find so compelling about your example is that someone actually spent some time developing this letter. What were they thinking? They lost me at “boo boo” for sure, but the inherent dishonesty in the whole letter is appalling. Why spend so much time and effort only to offend?

  5. Posted March 30, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    1) email is too long
    2) I don’t get the point
    3) It doesn’t address any of my problems
    4) Sounds like a soap opera – get to the point
    5) Email marketing is nearly dead

    People have become agile and handy in using the internet for gathering information.
    Interruption marketing is the inverse as it imposes on the people targeted.
    The era of content marketing and inbound marketing is here and will stay for a long time.
    PULL instead of the PUSH.