Stupid Marketing – Again

Sammy lives in that tree.

When I posted about donations, I got a not-so-surprising number of comments about what made people mad about the organizations asking for money. The day after I published that post, I got an email that caused me to realize that it isn’t just people asking for money. Communication today is a mess. Here are some examples of things that bug me:

1) The company that assembled our office cubicles and “system furniture” groupings constantly sends me emails showing new furniture options. How often do they think we’re going to change? On the other hand, when we’ve called them to come and make a modification, or repair, it takes weeks to get their attention. Even when we’re clearly going to spend money.

2) Organizations that send me a thank you for a donation I never made and include a request to make a similar donation this year – Um, if you’re already lying to me, why would I want to give you money?

3) Companies, like Amazon, Amazon and Amazon that browbeat me into reviewing something I haven’t received yet or something I purchased as a gift. Think about it Mr. Big-Data Bezos, why am I buying stuff in December? Granted, I might be one of those I-buy-everything-on-Amazon folks you love so much, but I can’t believe they’re reviewing every purchase. As I said before – You had merchandise, I had money, we exchanged same and we’re done. It’s called shopping. Humans have been doing it since they stopped hunting and killing for every meal.

4) Companies that can’t connect their own dots. An airline’s WiFi company provided tech-support while I was trying to connect to in-flight WiFi. The company and the airline sent me a survey on how helpful the tech-support was. Then the airline sent me a survey on how I liked having, WiFi on my flight.

5) Similarly, I have a favorite hotel chain. If I have a choice, I will always stay in a hotel that is part of that chain. I am a member of their “rewards” program and I have used reward points to stay in Pittsburgh on the weekend of a baseball game, a hockey game and/or a football game, several times. I have also paid money to stay in their properties (in Pittsburgh) on similar weekends.

Imagine my initial delight when I received an offer to “Enjoy World Class Hockey in Toronto.” Of course, I assumed this would be a game between the Maple Leafs and the Penguins. Now, imagine my surprise when I opened the email and saw an offer to fly to Canada to see the Detroit Redwings play the Maple Leafs.

What bothers me the most about these odd bits of communication is that I understand how much data about me these companies have. All of these “offers” were doomed to fail and all the senders should have known that. All of those companies should also know that the more useless email they send me, the more likely I am to ignore all their email.

I work with data and information. I have been doing this work for over 40 years. I know what companies CAN do with the data they hold. I know how they can analyze that data, and the other data they have about me, and how they could combine that accumulated knowledge about me and send me fewer but much more relevant offers. I’m not looking forward to marketing that will, in fact, seem creepy, but I am looking forward to the end of marketing that just seems stupid.


We had a snow storm pass through Saturday night, leaving us with about 6” of snow to clear before we head into warmer days, reaching 67°f (19°c) on Wednesday.

74 thoughts on “Stupid Marketing – Again

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  1. It’s easy, though irritating, to delete all of the “stupid” e-mail marketing offers. I have begrudgingly accepted it as the cost of doing business on the internet. My pet peeve is the offer to renew a subscription automatically “for my convenience,” and I am wary of that as I click through all of the steps needed to complete a purchase.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You raise another issue that bugs me, Mike – the whole “for your convenience” scam. I always shake my head at the email I get from a newspaper I subscribe to. It always starts with “Congratulations, your payment was successful!” – In other words, we reached into your account and took some money before you could really think about whether or not you still like our paper.

      Thanks!

      Like

  2. Would that I had more time to respond. Then again, maybe it’s best. My thoughts on this subject could fill a book. For now, let me just say that Amazon is currently on my sh$#@ list for those very reasons; and recently, after I did not receive a book I ordered from an independent shipper-a fact not revealed to me until AFTER I purchased-and after I got no reply from the email I sent by necessity through Amazon, the seller requested via electronic automatic Amazon data hounding that I review said non received book experience. When I spoke negatively about them, and Amazon, in my review, Amazon responded that I needed to revise it because they don’t ‘allow’ that type of response. Mind you there was no cursing or derogatory content other than their failure to deliver my order or respond to my complaints. They sent two more requests after that! 😖😕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ugh, I hate hearing that. Coupled with the fact that if you review too many books by one author, they get removed. The way they choose to manipulate our thoughts, makes me angry. I am not obligated to write a review of any book that I buy. This is why I like going to a bookstore.

      The other thing that gets to me is that I often buy books but then put them in the queue to be read. I can’t remember the last author whose next book was a must-read for me. It might have been Kurt Vonnegut.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a perfect way to start Monday – Maddie and marketing, and Maddie wins hands down. :-) I think we all have an Amazon story so here’s my most recent. I was ordering three of one item and was all the way through the process to review the process, and suddenly a book is on the order. A book I’ve never heard of and never even knew about. Had to go through the whole thing to get it off. Then, can someone please tell me why there isn’t an option to ‘not’ retain your credit card info? Yes, I know why, but it still irritates me. I have a problem with WordPress when I’m posting that I’ve been trying to correct for about six months. I send the info, a person attempts to help me, it doesn’t fix it, they drop it, and then I get the survey as to how happy I am. When I say I appreciated the response but still have the problem, it starts over with a new person. Over and over but no solution. It’s nice that when you are frustrated about marketing issues, you can decide to take a walk, sit, or lay down with your red headed friend who doesn’t send you any marketing materials for review. :-)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Looks like I touched a nerve, Judy…sorry :(

      I have had the odd item show up in my Amazon cart. Maybe it was something I clicked on by accident, but it is a pain to have to remove it. When you think of the “analog” version, it would be like a store employee says: “I saw you looking at this” and then tosses something in your cart and runs off. Then you have to go back and put it on the shelf. It’s crazy.

      WordPress is another story. I have had good luck with the Happiness Engineers, but you’re right, the problems often return or never really go away. But the people always seem nice…so we have that going for us.

      Happy shopping, and I hope you have a good week. I’ll get that book right out to you ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. For me, it’s emails through my work address from chummy strangers who speak of how I must have missed their missive last week (there wasn’t one) about how they can help me, their good friend Paul, with all of my staffing or printing or whatever needs. The implication that we’ve met before, or at least spoken before, is never far from some of them. The irony is, this type of email makes me more determined NOT to ever, EVER use their services for anything. Deleting isn’t enough; I wish there was a “delete with prejudice” option that would cause an unexpected computer restart on their end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the term: “delete with prejudice,” Paul. that should be an option.

      If you use Outlook, you can wire up little streams of actions that can be labeled as a quick response (I forget the actual term). I have a button that marks the email as spam and sends it to a folder titled “Never Buy From These People” – The label on the button is “Send to Hell” I push it at least once a week.

      I am with you. I don’t like it when people get chummy right off the bat. I also don’t like people who seem to think 15-20 minutes of my time is not an imposition. Thanks for adding to the rant, Paul!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – her marketing people will follow up with you, Lois. I am assuming that you want to contribute to cot repair, biscuits, a new vest and those umbrellas we use for shade in the summer. Why don’t I put you down for the “Maddie support subscription” plan.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Omigosh! I’m not into the computer world like you. I have my son-in-laws old iPad, and I text, email, follow a few blogs. Very low key. I don’t bank online and I have never, and will never, order anything on line.

    BUT, the damn junk mail for credit cards, a vacation I won, subscriptions for magazines or newspapers, pest extermination, Is beyond annoying.

    For me, the worst is our health insurance. They are relentless, via mail and phone calls, trying to get us to utilize their mail order prescription service. DON’T want it! Why? Because only SOME of our prescriptions are available through their mail order. The rest we’d still have to use our pharmacy. No thank you. I’m too old to have to keep straight which prescription comes from where.

    And, when they’re not bugging us about that, they’re strong-arming us to allow a ‘home visit’ AT NO COST TO US. Ummmm, no thanks. Why would we want a total stranger (not a doc or nurse) to come into our home, take all our vitals, ask endless personal medical questions, when our doctor has all this information?

    On a more pleasant note, there’s Maddie! Love her silky feathers when they meet static electricity! Such a beautiful girl. And you’re such a good dad to rearrange your legs for her comfort!

    Those after-the-storm photos are great. Now that’s a blue sky!

    Hope you’re feeling better today.
    •••Ginger•••

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. I am hounded, weekly by my health insurance provider (not the actual insurance company) to join their Wellness program. They aren’t providing the insurance, they aren’t medical professionals, they’re just insurance brokers and they expect me to share personal medical information with them. No way!

      Whether by mail, email, phone or the dreaded knock at the door, I either ignore or quickly say no to these hounds.

      As for the red headed hound, she manages to get what she wants, most of the time. But her motives are clear.

      Like

  6. I have an inbox that has three separate folders for email and usually the stuff like you mentioned goes into one of those. I never read those. I always delete them. I very rarely give a survey either. My time is precious and I have better things to do then fill in surveys. IF Amazon bugs me I don’t see it because those emails land in the folders I don’t read. I never give out my information to anyone unless it is through a reputable website where I do regular business. Of course in order to receive what I purchase I must give out my address. I’ve been pretty lucky so far. We do get some junk mail, not a lot, and that of course gets filed in the circular bin. We have a telephone blocker for all numbers we don’t recognize. We donate to reputable organizations and only to them. I keep saying … we deserve people to donate to US for all we do for these cats. I avoid marketing like the plague …. Life is a whole lot simpler that way! Have a great day, Dan!! 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every day or every week, Joanne. I am still being hounded by the association through which our company purchases health insurance. They want me to join their Wellness Program and they send the exact same email every week. I can’t block everything from them, because some stuff is important but I have asked them to stop sending this request.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The thing is, it costs them practically nothing to advertise via email. If it cost them twenty cents for the stamp (bulk rate), a penny for the paper and envelope, and two cents for people to stuff the envelopes, sort them and deliver them to the post office, they’re going to think more about it (but not much more). So they might only send out a flyer a couple of times a month, more because all that postage, material, and labor is a pain in the ass than it is expensive. In contrast, email is great: put together the email, bloop, bloop, bloop, hit send and voila! Five million people get it at once. So they can bombard you with email all they want and make you unsubscribe, at which point they can ask you, “Are you SURE you don’t want us to continue to bombard us with email?” Then, when you say, “no, unsubscribe me,” they tell you “it’ll take two weeks before you’re officially off the list, because we have this crap queued up for that long because, hey, we can do that.”

    Long story short: filter it all into the trash.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of it goes in the trash, John. But then, unfortunately, so does some valid email. It’s like WordPress comments. About one out of 100 are from people who just got snagged with the bad guys.

      I would gladly pay $0.01 for every email that I send, if it would stop these people from sending theirs.

      Like

  8. It is a very wasted opportunity. I’m fully capable of saying ‘no’ to things I don’t want, so I don’t really mind getting junk emails full of suggestions of things I might like. BUT for goodness sake, surely a place like Amazon should know what I would actually LIKE after 12 years of patronage, right? But instead of books about horror and art, or Scooby Doo toys, I, to this day, get emails filled with over-priced power tools, motorcycle tires, and wooden biscuits — you know, all the things I purchased ONCE for my father… like 6 years ago…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I keep thinking that at some point some marketer somewhere is going to figure out that there is a happy medium between online harassment and offering helpful messages about products and services customers have actual use for. Whoever does that is going to win the internet.
    Based on current behavior by most companies, I am not holding my breath that it will be any time soon :-(

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so true, Pam. I don’t even shop that much at Amazon, but I could figure out what to market to me. The dumbest thing they do is send me emails for hand tools that I already bought from them. A solid steel hand plane doesn’t wear out in a year. I still have one that belonged to my grandfather!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Nobody I know reads a book in the time Amazon gives you to write a review. And the airlines…don’t get me started. They know everything I do from the time I drop my bag, curbside to the point that I take my bag off the belt at my destination. Yet they ask me to rate the person at the ticket counter – they know I never talked to that person. Same at the gate. They know whether or not the gate attendant looked at my ticket, other than to scan it at the jetway, but they ask me to rate their behavior.

      The one I like: “Did the pilot say goodbye to you as you were leaving the plane?” Who cares? He took off, flew the plane and landed the plane at the right airport – he’s aces in my book!

      Thanks!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi Dan – thankfully I’m not inundated, try to limit by not interacting and try not to let it interrupt my day to day life … ie just ignore … but not always possible. Your knowledge would be interesting to know about … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hilary. It’s scary. They know so much more than these marketing attempts would indicate. They either don’t want to spend the money to analyzed the data they have, or the current way works well enough. I ignore as much as I can by just not opening the email, but sometimes, my curiosity gets the best of me. I guess that’s what they count on.

      Like

    1. Yes! So, let’s begin with you lying to me then asking me for money.

      My favorite hotel chain is Marriott. I have never been disappointed, and I have frequently been very pleased. Their marketing needs some help, but the properties I’ve stayed in are wonderful.

      Like

  11. I’ve been good at ignoring the stupid marketing calls because I don’t answer them, and the stupid marketing emails because they usually go to the spam folder. I can understand, though, how that all must annoy you to no end.

    It’s a good thing you’ve got Maddie, who makes you calmly sit outside for an hour. That’s a great stupid marketing stress reliever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do my best to ignore and filter, Mary, but sometimes, they sneak through the defenses. If only they all had to get to the front door – then they would have to deal with Maddie: “What? He doesn’t have time to talk about vinyl siding…he has to sit with me! Get off my porch! Grrrrrr.”

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Gorgeous, gorgeous pictures! That first dramatic sky, those blues behind the black trees…. Breathtaking! And OF COURSE you arranged your legs to support the dog. What are human legs for? Well, Tipper thinks they’re for clutching and pretending to bite, but we know they’re REALLY for supporting dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. With all the noise out there, I find I don’t even feel like opening something that might be “good” marketing any more. It’s just not worth it. And I’m not fond of that creepy personal form of marketing either. Maybe the solution is just not to buy anything. ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful skies — BEE-eautiful! Great lighting.
    Terrible marketing. Wretched.That bit about hockey made me frown, ferreal. I cannot remember now, but just yesterday, someplace new recommended something to me… I said so to The Mister. Imma think about that for a minute and see if I can remember what… Oh! Instagram! It’s got my interests based on my friends’ pets, for one. I’d like those dog breeds, it said. It was right, but it was a little off center as really I love ALL the doggies :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you like the pictures. I was impressed by the skies that day. The thing I don’t understand about these things – well, one thing at least – is how they know we aren’t just being polite when we say we like something. Now, I’m sure you want an Irish Setter 😏

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point, Janet. It isn’t just how much information these companies collect, it’s how quickly and with how many they share it. Yes, they care. They care about getting into your pocketbook before the next company does.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Writing from my “other” blog – by the way – thank you for commenting!
    Oh, here it’s the other way around. a little snow Sunday night and freezing cold during the day now. It was (10?) years ago that my son got into web design and commented, when I noticed “ads were following me” -oh they know everything about you!” I didn’t believe it, but once I was on blogspot i discovered how that actually worked. Since then I use the junk button a lot!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They keep saying that “with more information, we can serve you better…” but there are so many reasons why that approach fails. On the other hand, their metrics tell them that what they are doing works, so they keep cranking. It’s sad.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Like

  16. I agree with every point! When I get asked to review something I bought on Amazon as a gift for someone else and I requested a gift receipt I always think, “Hello, I bought this as a gift!” Then I hit the delete button. I think they should know that too.

    I love the sky and that sunlit fence snow image. What do you do with all the snow that gets piled up on the sidewalk from the plowers? Blow it all back into your yards?
    Mt. Maddie would benefit from that. :)

    She sure looks happy in the snow, and on her cot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Asking you to review something where you bought a gift receipt is just plain stupid. Delete-delete-delete.

      The sun was so bright that day, and the sky so clear, I was having fun taking pictures.

      The snow from the street does end up in the front yard. I can’t really get it around to Mt. Maddie (unless I could shoot it over the roof). We worry a little about the salt and sand that ends up in the yard with the snow, but there’s really no way to avoid it. I’ve seen people who try to pile it on the tiny strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. That never ends well. Plus, I like to clear a spot there for the trash cans and I clear an opening for delivery folks. And, my lawn isn’t really all that much grass, anyway.

      Maddie loves her cot! She had played in the snow, she was tired and the sun was warm – a perfect day for Maddie.

      The snow is almost gone. It’s going to be in the 60s today and maybe hit 70 tomorrow. Very strange weather.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m sorry to hear that. When we get these warm spells, we always worry about fruit farmers. Two years ago most of New England lost the peach crop for the year. We also worry about early babies among the critters.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. No. 2 had be cracking like nuts. They actually thanked you for a donation you never made, then asked you another! Whoa! Crazy people. The one about the game in Canada is also crazy. How can they even imagine you will still like them enough to take their offer after cheating you like that?!
    Anyway, I get some of those sales emails, too, but I just ignore them. If it comes more than once, I junk it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Peter. I think they are counting on the fact that you will be confused and think that you just don’t remember donating before. That tactic worked with my mother. She was born in the mid-20s and she really didn’t expect that people would simply lie to her to get money. These companies prey on the elderly – that really bothers me.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. The snow blower pics reminded me yet again we haven’t had to take ours out ONCE all season. Temps in the 70’s today and tomorrow. Bizarre. The marketing barrage of e-mails is grudgingly tolerable. After all, it keeps our spam filters gainfully employed. But the robotic phone call marketing is increasingly annoying. Phone calls from the same place over and over and over again, changing their call out number by one digit from the last call they made (to avoid blocking). There is a special place in hell for those folks. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I agree on that special place being reserved for those people. I haven’t had to use the machine too many times this year. Actually, if I had waited a day, this would have all melted. We’re in the upper 50s now, heading to the mid-60s today and 70 tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

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