I received two rather curious, and incorrectly targeted emails in my inbox last week.
You may have heard about the first in the news. Shutterfly, the online store where you can buy any photo related item – prints, mugs, calendars, keychains, billboard covers and casket liners (I made up the last two) – sent an email congratulating me on my “new arrival.”
Since my daughter is now 14 months old, I thought it was just a touch late, was a little concerned they were mining data from photos I had uploaded, and then simply deleted it. I get so much email from Shutterfly – celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Flag Day, Christmas, Easter, the Ides of March, NFL Draft Day - that I didn’t think much of it.
It turns out that Shutterfly hadn’t mistakenly targeted the parent of an almost toddler with a message aimed at new parents; it had sent this email out to a large number of people who do not have or cannot have young children at all. Oops. Shuttefly was so chastened that I received not one, but two emails apologizing for the mistake.
While I may no longer have an infant, I am most certainly married. Happily. And with two children. I also love baseball. Specifically the Boston Red Sox. It’s no surprise that I am on the Red Sox email list, but I was taken aback to receive an email inviting me to “Meet Single Red Sox Fans Near You!” I thought my wife might take exception:
I receive a lot of emails from the Red Sox – offers to buy shirts, hats, apparel, tickets, Caribbean cruise, luggage, branded wallpaper, etc. An email offering to hook me up with Red Sox fans seems a bit much. Their current losing streak seems to have coincided with this unfortunate email campaign.
Both Shutterfly and the Boston Red Sox offer instructional lessons in targeting. Make sure you are sending the right message to the right targets, and make sure those targets are properly segmented. As a voice actor and a small business owner, I strive to keep my messages and outreach relevant. I am not reaching out to CFOs, IT people, or mimes to introduce myself.
If you’re targeting a married man with an almost toddler and a first grader who loves baseball, perhaps a photo book, and discounts on tickets would be better offers than those aimed at a single man with a newborn looking for a date.