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How an Email Marketing Blunder Built an Online Community

Posted on 10-11-2016 , by: Dani Kuntz , in , 0 Comments

Like most individuals, I receive a flurry of email marketing campaigns each day in my inbox, majority will never see the light of day. Being an online marketer, I have a tendency of being highly critical and detail-oriented when I receive offers from companies I have shared my email address with. I hold my corporate email sacred, time is money, right? Today I received an email from an account manager from a reputable social media marketing software company I had spoken with sometime last year, to determine if their services would benefit my clients. While reading his gentle, generic email, I realized he made an error, and did NOT bcc the recipients. Meaning the 300+ individuals he was reaching out to now have my ever-so-precious email address. How dare he, right? Being a ‘passionate’ person, I reacted. I was not impressed that my email address had not been protected, due to the nature of the companies and corporate clients I work with, and recently delving deeper in to Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation. Plus, I was annoyed.

My response was seemingly appropriate at the time, and similar to several others on this now very-large email thread:

I have no interest in a demo, my organization does not need a social media solution. I do not appreciate my email address being shared with your entire funnel, this is grounds for a formal complaint with the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation.
We all make mistakes but I would recommend using an email marketing software for future campaigns, this would have saved you from seeming unprofessional.
I wish  to no longer receive emails from you.

Click. Send. Sip coffee with delight. Then, the tone changed from other respondents. The 300+ professional successful marketers and business owners started to make note that this account manager made an error, and would likely learn a big lesson from this email marketing blunder. Hmm… other people make mistakes? I thought I was the only one. Our careers are built on continual learning and mistakes. For the first time in my years of social media and online marketing, I felt like a troll! Shame on me. We often forget that the emails we receive are coming from other people. Just. Like. Us… My bad.

The positive response to support this guy, (who probably had a pretty bad day afterwards) proves the power of human relationships and ownership of our actions outweigh the day-to-day mistakes we all make in business, and in life. Yes, he made a mistake, so what! Looking back at this one day, may be the best mistake of his life. He unknowingly built a community of lesson learners, and a network of wonderful, and understanding people (that created hashtags, t-shirts and memes in his honour). This minor hiccup taught us all a lesson in humility, he is now a hero, and I need to pre-order my t-shirt!

The official shirt of Colegate

#FriendsofCole

#AllisForgiven

#ColeForPresident

#bestbuds

Marketing in today’s environment is critically dependent on building positive relationships, sharing knowledge and navigating the ever-changing landscape with the support of peers. I think a few of us will come out of this with an open-mind and a reminder that a little compassion goes a long way in the business world.

To the super hero that shared my email with your sales funnel, you made my day!  Thank you for letting me learn this lesson with you, I learned a bigger one. Your organization is lucky to have you on board! Hope we can still be friends…ps: You might be trending on Twitter.

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