Ask my wife – She's always right…

Remember the t-shirt from this blog post? Well, the fact of the matter is my wife does rock…

I've bugged her to do a blog post for me for a few months now and recently must have come across something that finally peaked her interest. While at my last conference the most popular question seemed to be about the uses of social media and video in email marketing. I decided to pose the question to the wife, stay-at-home mom extraordinaire.

Here's her email reply to me:

——

So, you asked for a blog post from me, but I'm hoping you'll settle for this email, because, well, I don't have a blog.  I'm too busy reading all of them to actually keep up with one of my own.

Tonight you asked me if a marketing email that contained a video would be appealing to me.  Sorry, my forward-thinking husband, but I've got to say no.  Quite honestly, most marketing emails that I receive are deleted before I really even look through them.  I find that most of them either:

  1. Are not targeting the types of things I would be interested in, or
  2. Are slamming me with so much email it becomes bothersome.  (You know, like the neighbor kids that ring your doorbell incessantly even though you've told them time after time you're not coming out to play?  Yeah, bothersome like that.)

It's unfortunate for them, really, since as the mom and wife (a.k.a. buyer of the household) I've got some good spending power behind me.  Anyway, when a marketing email does manage to catch my attention (usually with a good subject line that peaks my interest), I scan it for the item I might be interested in, similar to how I'd scan a book or an article.  I'm looking for specific content, and I don't often take the time to read through the email from start to finish.  A video wouldn't allow me that option.  Since you don't know what a video will contain next, you're forced to watch it in its entirety. Either that, or you could choose not to watch it at all, and realistically, that's the route I would go.  I mean, really, who chooses to watch a commercial?  (Isn't that what a marketing video really would be? A commercial?  An infomercial at best, I suppose.)  Isn't that why they invented TiVo?  To skip over the commercials?  Marketers, in my humble opinion, would be better served by taking the time to truly listen to what their customer wants and then trying to give them a good deal on the product they're interested in.  If you can do those two things, and catch me with a good email subject line, then I'm far more likely to actually purchase the product.

*An hour later.*

Okay.  I'm back after a little more thought on the subject.  I stand by what I said earlier – chances are, I wouldn't watch a generic video sent to me in an email by, umm, let's say American Airlines.  (Only choosing them since they send me TONS of email.  Snooze. Give me some good prices, American Airlines.  Then we'll talk.)  That is, unless they specifically targeted a location that I was truly interested in traveling to in the video.  I probably wouldn't watch a video from Oh My Crafts (which, by the way, sends me INSANE amounts of email with "BIG SALES!" for just about every occasion under the sun. Hello?  Oh My Crafts?  You can't extend every sale and expect us to be pleasantly surprised.), unless it was a "how-to" video on my latest crafting project.  If a video is something that marketers are considering, from my point of view, I'd rather an email (again, with a punchy subject line) letting me know that a selection of videos are available for viewing at my leisure on their website.  Then, I could choose to watch only the videos that interest me – I wouldn't have to watch the pre-selected email video about maybe, Costa Rica, if I would indeed rather travel to Paris again.  (Hypothetically speaking, of course.)  Now, I know nothing about all of the email/website technology available, but wouldn't allowing people to click into a website garner more information for the marketers?  Is there a way for the marketers to track the video I choose to watch so that they can then market more specifically to my interests?  I don't know.  That seems to make more sense to me. But, I'm not a marketer – I'm a shopper.

*Another afterthought.*

If you were going to post a video to a website (again, if that’s as effective as I think it could be), maybe it needs to be for a limited time.  Or, at least “featured” for a limited time before it’s sent to a less accessible archive, or something of the sort.  If I knew that I only had a week or so to watch a video of interest, I’d be more likely to immediately click over to view it.  If I knew that it would be available indefinitely, I’d probably choose to procrastinate (again, hypothetically!), and then it would move to the bottom of my priority list, and then, POOF!  Somehow your catchy little video falls off my radar.

I guess what I’m saying is this:  if a marketer isn’t careful, he’s going to get an introduction to my delete key far more often than he’s going to get my attention, or in this particular case, get me to push the play button.

So, it seems that if I did have a blog of my own, I'd need to learn how to edit my asides in a more effective way than by using parentheses.  They're a little overwhelming at times.  But, now you know what I'm thinking.  Hope I gave you the information that you wanted, babe.

Love you.

xoxo – wife

———

To be honest and without any direction from me, this is the sort of thinking I was expecting from an average day user/mom of email. Not to many have time in their day to watch that many video emails. We already complicate marketing emails with to much information and frequency to the point where they become useless to many like my wife.

We all know what will happen if marketers get a whiff of the potential here. A good chunk of them will try this technology and cram even more information into an already overloaded email and not take the time even understanding its impact on the user. Are we REALLY ready for video in email? Most of us haven't figured out marketing best practices on what we have already in our hands.
  1. Keep your emails short and sweet. Don't make them a full page.
  2. Be clear on what the email means to the reader by using clear subject and from lines 
  3. Run your points clearly and in the beginning of your email.
  4. Don't lead the email with a large image. They are blocked default. 
  5. Send the prospect to a website for the multimedia experience and full message. Also allows for better activity tracking v.s opens and clicks off an email which as most here know is hard to measure (Digital Body Language)
What sorts of questions do you have for my wife? Post your questions in the comments or Q&A section. We will see if she's interested…

-Dennis

Don't Just Send, Deliver!
Dennis Dayman

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5 Responses to “Ask my wife – She's always right…”

  1. Seth Weisfeld
    May 26, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    Nice post Mr.Dayman. Sounds like your wife IS always right!

    I'm curious if she ever responds to cross promotional offers. Take her AA example, if she gets a hertz offer with prices does that elicit a response/ignore/delete/spam button? Since it's coming from AA does the cross-promo offer get ignored?

  2. DJ Waldow
    May 26, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Dennis –

    I said this on Twitter, IM, and email, but I'll say it again here:

    That is one of the best (and most honest) blog posts I've read in some time. Great to hear from the "average" online consumer for a change. FWIW – I ask my wife all the time what she thinks (about email, of course).

    dj
    @djwaldow


    DJ Waldow
    Director of Best Practices & Deliverability at Bronto

  3. Greg Kraios
    May 27, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    An A+ for Mrs. D!

    Sounds like everything we have been preaching for YEARS that many marketers refuse to listen to. That is until they realize their mail isn't being accepted or placed in the Inbox (at which time they will blame everyone but themselves).

  4. spamfighter
    May 28, 2009 at 6:26 am #

    Dear Mr. Dayman,

    I LOVE your wife. Were it not for you getting in the way, I'd marry her and give her her own blog, something you seem to be unwilling to do. that said, I'd like your permission to post this post (blog roll) on the CAUCE website, so people can get a feel (double entendre intended) for what an average consumer thinks. Wow, so articulate, and except for 170 Lbs of unsightly husband, so attractive!

    ;-)

    - your pal, spamfighter

  5. Sarah
    July 30, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Great article!

    One nitpick though for both you and your wife. It is not "peaked" my interest, it is "piqued" my interest. Piqued means "to stimulate interest in". "Peaked" means "ending in a tapering, projected point".

    This is one of the few homophones that really irritates me on the internet.

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