Half the pitches I receive are irrelevant
by Josh Bernoff
This is the second of three posts analyzing the contents of my inbox. Yesterday I looked at all my email. Today I take up the 51 emails I received from PR people over a week in January. Do the math: that's ten a day.
My topics range has increased since two years ago, when I was exclusively covering social technology -- now I cover social, mobile, internal collaboration and innovation, a range of topics. Even so, 45% of the pitches I received are either completely irrelevant to the areas I cover, or are related to topics I gave up over five years ago. (That's actually an improvement from two years ago.) How did headlines like these end up in my mailbox? Somebody paid to get my name off a list to send these -- what a waste of your money and my time.
- Elan Digital releases new upgraded version of the SDLBT5 SD/SDIO Loopback Test Tool
- Care Ambulance Acquired by Falck [what list did that come from?]
- GlassPoint January e-newsletter [for a solar energy company]
- Huntington Beach "Goes Green" with Steps Towards a Sustainable Huntington Beach [Am I on some green list somewhere?]
- Viva La Rock Partners with Atlantic Records and Warner Bros. Records for 2011
That last one, which is about an agency that promotes music, the PR person sent me twice -- the second one with a cute "wanted to make sure you received this." Just a hint, folks -- if I wasn't interested the first time, go away. And in general, "we have a customer" is not something that requires a press release.
I've also been monitoring whether PR emailers include an unsubscribe instruction. Of the PR emails I received, only 43% included a link or instruction to allow me to get off the mailing list. Some of those emails were personal -- they were an offer of a book, or a response to an earlier email, or from someone I knew or who connected with me specifically. But 18 out of 51 emails, more than a third of the pitches, had no easy way to get off the mailing list. (And folks, even if you include the word "Josh" in the pitch, I know you're sending the same thing to a bunch of folks, and you have to give me a way to get off your merry-go-round.)
Nokia, which always keeps us analysts richly supplied with email connections, send three messages during the week I tracked. One had an unsubscribe instruction, two didn't. How did that happen?
Just in case you think I only complain, I love marketing people who do their homework. So let's cite one who does his job right: John Zell, VP of Global CRM Solutions at Razorfish. Here's what he sent me.
Subject: A thought
I really enjoyed reading your new book – book Empowered: Unleash your Employees, Energize your Customers, Transform your Business.
Given your research and learning’s around the evolution of energizing and empowering customers within the social media space, I thought you might be interested in some research we just published.
The six month study, which we are calling Liminal, is focused on customer engagement in this time of great transition.
We chose the name Liminal for this report because it describes a state of being in flux—on the threshold of something new.
To us, the word Liminal does a superb job of describing the continuing evolution of how consumers choose to engage with a brand.
We took a ground up, customer centric approach to understand things like -- how do marketers make sense not only of divergent touchpoints, but the disparate reasons why customers gravitate to them.
You can find the full report, is on this site: http://Liminal.Razorfish.com (you will find a link to download the PDF).
If you have some time in the future and an interest, I would be happy to discuss the details with you.
Best regards, John.
While I'm not crazy about the subject line, John clearly know who I am, what I do, and what I am interested in. And being a nice guy, he send me a link instead of the whole PDF. Of all the pitches I received, this was one of the few I marked for a response.
Coming up: the PR emailers hall of shame.