A Marketing Strategy Gone Wrong

The first thing I said when he answered the phone was, “Josh, I really feel sorry for you today!”

Josh is a pleasant fellow who answered the phone last Thursday when I called the Centre for Arts and Technology in Halifax. I was just a little upset. I was pretty sure that mine wasn’t the first call of this sort that he had received, and it wouldn’t be the last.

It started when I received 17 identical promotional emails to 17 imaginary Daley Progress employees from the Centre for Arts and Technology back on April 17th. (Click here to get the back story on our imaginary staff.)

That’s the footer of an email addressed to mikehopkins@daleyprogress.com. (There is no Mike Hopkins.) At the time I replied and asked for all email addresses ending in my domain name to be deleted from their mailing list. Of course, I also took the time to preach a little about the dangers of buying mailing lists. I was disappointed that a reputable organization had been duped.

I thought no more about it until I got these 17 flyers by snail mail last Thursday:

Once I got past my surprise at finding out that Daley Progress has a new Interim President, I got a bit pissed off. There’s the wasted money and resources. And the tainted reputation. Read some of the words on that flyer and consider the irony.

Josh’s handling of my complaint was an excellent example of skillful phone work, but it was obvious that I wasn’t the only person to take note of this poor marketing strategy. How many thousands of other companies were spammed with both email and flyers, and didn’t take the time to call?

This is the first time that the mailing list fiasco has resulted in print material arriving at my door. When this fake list was compiled (by someone I’d dearly love to throttle), not only were names and email addresses made up, but the mailing address was included along with nonexistent positions here at Daley Progress. Despite being a Star Trek fan, I don’t think we need a Chief Medical Officer! There are only two of us here so 17 new people were immediately obvious.

This one struck home for me because it was close to home. Someone at the Centre for Arts and Technology made a poor decision when they hired a marketing company. For an organization like this, reputation is everything. That means working to build your following and, at the same time, building relationships. It also means acting with integrity, especially within your own field of endeavour.

Here’s what really annoys me. The folks in my industry who mislead their clients and alienate the general public taint the industry’s reputation and make it hard for organizations who are doing legitimate business and offering value to their subscribers.

4 thoughts on “A Marketing Strategy Gone Wrong”

  1. I can't think of anything less meaningful, authentic or just plain irritating than to send information to people from a "purchased" list. People do business with people/businesses they know, like and trust. What about identifying your target market, building the criteria for your ideal client, building a relationship????? this type of marketing is nothing but "shotgun" tactics…even if it's going to real people. Let's just send stuff to everyone we can and because of just plain #s WE WILL get sales…to hell with the majority of them that we drive to madness…like Miss Linda :)

  2. WOW. Great article Linda. Sharing widely. Just sent to a new client who is buying lists because I warned him about it at our first meeting. I hope the Centre takes this to heart. What a waste of resources!

  3. I happened to work there in a Marketing Coordinator position a few years ago, for 5 whole weeks. They go through marketing staff like dirty socks, and, when I was there, didn't seem to care … my guess is lack of experience was the culprit.

  4. Thanks for commenting. I felt a little bad about exploiting their lack of judgment but I did at least warn them I was going to write a blog post about it.

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