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Email biters bit

Surprised to read that meedja folk don’t like emails. Selling ones, that is.

Announced they’re being snowed by retailers after they bought something from them.


Curious incident of the email in the inbox

But maybe yours was one of the sympathetic 132 comments agreeing with the posting person, Tom Godwin, right.

If you missed / can’t read his post it says: Retailers…..stop signing me up to daily email lists because I’ve bought something from you. Brands needs to get a more realistic view of their importance in people’s lives.

After all, while Tom is completely unknown to VnN, isn’t he directly representative of – or at least a key part of – the industry that advises clients on how they should be selling stuff to customers? You know…how and where to place their comms? And, wait for it, isn’t email on their clients’ media schedule? Somewhere?

Surprised VnN would be (again) if email wasn’t included as part of their clients’ proposed multi-channel strategies.

So why are the media’s advocates getting so het up? Is it still news to anyone that providing your email address to an organisation means they just might use it…?

It’s often said sales-y people are the easiest people to sell to. Perhaps.

So perhaps it’s just the faulty ‘salesperson’ rhino-skin gene in VnN’s collective dna that says ‘If someone’s gonna try sell us something, guess what…we can always say No!’

And if that selling takes place via a TV ad, or a poster, press ad, bus-side, shop window, cross-track, billboard, cinema ad, on-shelf, at the checkout, in the street…fine.

Whereas social media, the main platforms, banners, pre-roll ads, websites, searches and retargeted ads, all on my chosen techie device…certainly not so fine.

But send me an email. GRRRR and DOUBLE GRRRRR.

Whassup? Why so precious? It’s not as most of us even give a f**k about emails, either. Indeed, most people would be happy to see the whole email communication thing ecosystem die tomorrow. Along with the bloke who invented it, Ray Tomlinson, who sadly died last month. RIP.

Poor Mr Tomlinson. He must have known how people used his baby to moan about just…well… everything.

How it distracts us; screws up our day; messes up our office lives; stops us getting stuff done; makes us permanently available at all hours; how it’s removed the word ‘balance’ from ‘work life balance’; and generally zapped our brains.

He even got us to think and go around telling everybody that BlackBerry was cool. How embarrassing.

Email denial

Being no strangers ourselves to email practices at VnN, we’ve come to observe three email trends which may go some way to explaining our shared, perhaps even frequent hysteria, at receiving unwanted emails.

And why our office lives seem to be directly and negatively impacted by this electronic chaff.

Firstly, immortality. So a warning from the bard. Shakespeare’s 65th sonnet ends with the plea ‘That in black ink my love may still shine bright’.

Ahh. But Shakespeare, proclaiming the triumph of immortality when hopes and ideas are committed to everlasting print over simple mortality, didn’t know how far-sighted he was.

Anything ‘written’ in an email now will shine through for-ever-and-a-day. And in any colour ink you like.

So say something mean, be nasty, ungracious, salacious, fallacious or mendacious and…well, you could end up being a world-wide sensation if someone decides a little online publication might just sort you out.

Consequently, we all think twice (mostly) before we press ‘Send’. Yet sometimes even twice comes back and bites us on the bottom. So mischief and anything risqué is out of the email window now. Especially if you’re young. Or Generation Serious as some countries call exam grades-obsessed, career-minded millennials starting out.

Secondly, there’s the cc’d in boss email. Former new biz people who now contribute to VnN maintain this was one of the worst email experiences in their lives.

Especially the request for “…immediate creds and 10 detailed case studies” specifically related to a near-the-back-of-beyond part of the networked agency you worked for and which was based out in Kenya or Mumbai or Timbukeffingtu and which had two whole months to get its schtik together for a pitch in 24 hours’ time but has buggered it up to-o-tally and now needs input from London-based you to save their less-than-useless efforts and the email cc’d in…your boss.

So you had to work late to get it to them. Because you’d already had a follow-up email from your boss. Making sure you were ‘OK’ with giving senior agency person abroad (i.e. a boss-mate) everything he wanted. That their pitch was really really important, you know. And that if you needed any help just shout…Yeah, right.

And lastly, for the new business reader struggling to cut through and make those all-important creds meetings happen, the deafening silence of no reply.

Silence can come in many forms in the office. No word back from your email to a boss which includes a suggestion or asks a difficult question or raises a potential issue means…well what? They disgree…don’t want to answer…haven’t read it? Probably. So you’re stuffed. Why bother, you think.

But the silence of a not-interested prospect is manifested when you try to contact them. By phone follow-up…nah.

No-o-obody answers their phones or takes calls any more. While everybody is on voicemail nobody listens to their voicemail. Even if they know how to operate their messaging system.

So you never leave a message. Just try calling back. With the same result. And if you do ever get through, the likelihood of anyone ever having read or even remembered your email (haha)… Badge of honour to say that selling emails are immediately deleted.

It’s tough out there.

It’s personal

Laughably, after all of the above, being ‘personal’ is precisely what does make email successful. And being part of an integrated programme. It just hasn’t been mentioned.

So I guess when people such as Tom post their angst at having received one or many unwanted emails, he means it’s annoying because it’s irrelevant. And that the medium is being used indiscriminately.

Fair enough. If said retailer was selling furniture, how many dining tables and four chairs, for example, do you buy every week?

But the tendency to shout about receiving too many emails from organisations on a mission to fill your inbox…VnN remains surprised that biters bit should be bitching,

Maybe it’s just an April 1st thing.

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