Six Serving Men Blog

Six Serving Men Blog

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Email Marketing : Card playing Monkeys

Stef Elliott - Sunday, May 30, 2010

At the recent DMA North email masterclass series I was asked to discuss retention email activity and speculate upon the key drivers that enable success. 

The presentation title : Card playing monkeys tried to summarise the common trap email marketers should avoid ; Making their email subscribers do all the thinking and take on the responsibility for navigating the emails sent  and establishing the relevance of the communications.    

The famous New Yorker cartoon from 1993 highlights the great anonymity of the web


But given the lack of relevant personalisation the question has to asked  whether email marketers

  • Care that you are a dog ?

  • Take the time to establish you are a dog (if infact you are) or determine what type ?

  • Treat you like a dog if you are one ? 

So why Card playing Monkeys ?
Monkey playing cards
Success in emails relies upon providing recipients with information to enable them to make a series of choices i.e. notice, open, read, click .... in the same way that you do in a game of 21 or pontoon - stick, twist or bust.  

In 1974 The Harvard Business Review published a paper from Onken & Wass that provided insight into time management and in particular not taking on other peoples problems (Monkeys). Follow here for more info!  

However given the range and depth of data available (particularly for customers rather than just email subscribers) how often do email marketers ignore the data that have and provide one size fits all emails, or use static info e.g. name to "personalise" a generic message.  

They effectively pass the monkey to their busy consumers, who have no time or inclination to feed the monkey for them. 
Companies that don't fall to this trap measure and monitor not only campaign response but also the value the database holds and develop a segmentation strategy based upon enhancing this equity. 

Technology has enabled all companies to develop email programs but tbe succesful requires time and effort to be invested into the activity. After all if you pay peanuts - you get monkeys!!!

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