When Marketing Gets Downright SCARY

The scariest stories are true. Certainly, Hollywood monsters and masked madmen elicit chills down a spine, but for most people, real-world scenarios are a particularly jarring way to strike fear into a person.

Especially marketers. Why? Because our work isn’t private, our reports only available for our bosses to scrutinize. No, our typo is sent to 100,000 people, and you KNOW someone is about to tweet about it.

In the spirit of Halloween, we’re retelling (with permission and names changed to protect the innocent) some of the most hair-raising, blood-curdling, mortifying horror stories in marketing.

Submitted for approval by the authority of The Midnight Marketing Society, I call this story…

SPEAKING IN DIGITAL TONGUES
Submitted by Disaster Diana

“A new designer was working on editing an email in our ESP. I couldn’t give her creative editing access without actual sending access…which already had me on edge, but it is…what it is. I purposely did not select lists and showed her where the ‘send test’ button was on the editing page, so there was definitively, certainly, NO need to go anywhere else.

Well, she didn’t remember that, and instead of contacting me with questions before testing, sent an email with gibberish and broken links to 800k contacts. Yes, you read that correctly: 800,000 contacts.”

Guess our marketer should thank her lucky stars her contact list was only…800,000…people…? There’s no getting around this one, it’s a true horror of epic proportions. This is where a platform OUTSIDE the ESP is absolutely critical for testing, optimizing, and collaborating on emails, because with something like Everest, the worst you’ll do is send a test to a seedlist with some wild text in it.

THE DRIP
Submitted by Keystroke Ken

“I discovered a subject line typo in a drip campaign running for MONTHS.”

That’s it, that’s the story. I still have chills. Remember to always double-check your subject lines with technology and with a set of fresh eyes. Otherwise…no, it’s too scary, I can’t repeat it.

THE DUMMY
Submitted by Kreepy Karen

“More than 10 years ago, my team sent a campaign to a list of top customers for a well-known hotel client. Because of a programming error for dynamic content, some recipients received emails with a subject line starting with DUMMY.

The CEO of the hotel called my client contact, who called then my boss. Lots of F bombs.”

Attracting the ire of the Big Guy? Call me Casper because I died of sheer second-hand embarrassment. Technology can be a real beast.

BONUS: THE SUNDAY SCARIES
Submitted by Aja Sanders, one of Validity’s customer success managers, on behalf of Spooked Steve

“Every Sunday night, my client had to log into his work computer and manually generate a report to be discussed first thing Monday morning. Every Sunday. Talk about Sunday scaries! Instead of enjoying his last day of the weekend, he spent his time thinking about all the work he needed to do.”

Sounds like a TIME ZOMBIE coming to eat up all his fun. Aja helped him automate the report so every Sunday, it generated like magic and kept him in an easy-like-Sunday-morning vibe from sun-up to sun-down. Finally, a story with a happy ending…

If you need some gentle reassurance everything will be OK, drop us a line. Otherwise…Good luck sleeping tonight.

If you have a horror story to share, let’s hear them on Twitter using #SpookyEmail!

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