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Bad marketer

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Best Buy just sent me an email full of advertisements for the newest music and movies at their store. In doing so they’ve made a variety of marketing mistakes.

First of all, they didn’t do a good job of segmenting their marketing efforts. I’ve never bought a media item from Best Buy. I’ve never bought a CD player or DVD player from them. I’ve never even looked at music or movies on their Web site. So why would they lead their email with media? I can understand that they might be trying to push me toward shopping for new product lines, but it would be far better to advertise items that I’ve shown interest in. Then they could add media items into the advertisement. I’m much more likely to read the ad it if it contains things I like.

I was a bit surprised to see the email because I don’t recall giving them my email address. I certainly didn’t ask for marketing offers from them. Then I see at the bottom of the email “You received this e-mail because you have provided information to us in the past.” That’s right, I remember now. I bought something from their Web site four years ago.

I’ve said before that permission goes stale, but this is absurd. Not only did I not give them permission to email me, but they are using information I gave them four years ago and assuming that I’d like to be contacted. I haven’t received a single email from them in all this time and now they think they can start acting like best friends. That’s like an ex-girlfriend suddenly showing up on your doorstep after years of no contact and expecting a kiss.

One of the problems with sending email to stale addresses is that email addresses change. Just because someone used an address four years ago doesn’t mean that the same person uses it today. The person at might not be the same individual that has always used that address. Now that ex-girlfriend wants a kiss from the current resident of the house, no matter who it is.

I followed their opt-out instructions so that I wouldn’t hear from them in another four years. What I received was a message that says “Your opt out request has been submitted. Please allow up to 6 weeks for processing. Until the request has been processed, you may still receive promotional email messages.”

It’s going to take them six weeks to remove my email address from their mailing list? This tells me that their communication with the vendor that sends their mailings is so bad that it takes time to do simple things. Perhaps they have some intern print out the list, find my name, and cross it out in crayon before sending it to the marketing office by drunken bicycle courier.

It’s not that hard to do email marketing right. Do it right and you’ll have loyal customers. Do it wrong and you get ranting blog entries written about your practices.

Richard Evans Lee
November 19, 2003 3:24 AM

Your story dovetails perfectly with this tale of Best Buy Customer Disservice: Sounds like Best Buy's huge success has inflicted them with arrogance. May be an opening for their competitors.

November 19, 2003 6:49 AM

argh... so true. i called them to ask a question and was on hold for 35 minutes, so I got in my car, still on hold, and drove over there, still on hold. i actually had the front desk pick up several times while i was on hold and try to retransfer me to the department i needed, but no one was answering. the customer service rep apologized and said they must all be busy with customers. so i finally arrived at the store, and couldn't even find any employees on the floor. they weren't busy, they were just mia. maybe that's how they keep those prices down :P

Phillip Harrington
December 2, 2003 1:11 PM

Is your ex girlfriend cute? Is she still available?

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