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Email marketing is NOT distributing pamphlets

email-marketing how IRCTC failed?

Take a look at the above screen shot of my inbox. Does any thing look odd? Of course it does, the amazing folks at IRCTC have decided to send a tempting summer vacation offer to me, not once but 5 times in the last 14 hours.

Despite having one of the finest Indian online customer data bases at their finger tips, the folks at IRCTC failed miserably in communicating with their customers about the exciting offers they have. (IRCTC is one of the very first and most used e-commerce site in India for making train reservations online) They ran a miserable campaign by asking people who do not understand how campaigning / advertising on internet / email works.

Running an email ad campaign is not distributing pamphlets or buying tv spots in prime time. You can not shove the message down your users’ throats, it doesnt work that way. These days mail clients are smart enough to recognize duplicate messages and they truncate the message automatically, they club similar messages together. So there is really no point repeating the same message every 4 hours.

What instead could work well is, a story, an user experience, a tempting offer customized for ME communicated in as few words as possible and sent out in a frequency that is not intrusive. Customers would love to listen, thats why they have dropped their email id and clicked that little check box on your registration page that says “I cannot wait to receive offers from you”, but that doesnt mean you should hand the list of email ids to your marketing department and order them to “run a campaign, for the next 3 months”. It doesnt work that way…

Also read:
Advertising that can ruin you – Indian Railways Case Study
More online advertising failures


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3 Responses to “Email marketing is NOT distributing pamphlets”

  1. Kidakaka says:

    Hey very nicely put!! On the dot ... but then when you are handling such large volumes of data, doing targeted email marketing becomes somewhat tedious.

  2. Chandoo says:

    @kida... thanks man... yeah, I know they have a rather large db, but that is all the more reason to hire a pro or setup a campaigning system that is smart enough instead of indulging in mail-merge ...

    btw, was going through your site, man, you are writing awesome, added the feed to my reader...

  3. Kidakaka says:

    hahaha .. mail merge .. I had tried that stunt once with 6000 mails ... bad idea :-). Indian portals are not paying enough attention to online marketing ... thanks for the add 🙂

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