Imagine a very, very slow-motion car crash. Nothing much seems to be happening. There’s an occasional little bang, a crunch, a screw pops out and spins across the dashboard as if we’re in Apollo 13. But the radio is still playing, the heater is on and it doesn’t seem all that bad, except for the certain knowledge that sooner or later you will definitely be going headfirst through the windscreen.
Whatever your views on death, if you are a writer, you can’t help but admire this speech by Sir Terry Pratchett, given as a Richard Dimbleby lecture. It was read Feb. 1 on BBC1 by Tony Robinson.
<rant mode on>
I received email today from a company whose software product I apparently downloaded at some unspecified time in the past. Here are the first four paragraphs of today’s email, with the product name changed to Prod and the Company acronym changed to COM (but typos included):
Subjectline: Prod & COM
Lots is happening in Prod Land these days. We have 3 important things to tell you:
*Prod Version 2.0.2 Released:*
We’ve just released an update to Prod, version 2.0.2, which has lots of new translations and bug fixes. As always, download it here: http://getProd.com
Overall, the release of Prod 2 has received lots of great coverage and more users that ever. Take a look at some of the recent reviews: [URLhere]
I download three or four pieces of software a week (that would be more than 150 apps a year), a few of which I use regularly and the rest of which I soon forget. Might I want to take a look at this one again? Perhaps, but this email gives me no clue whatsoever. Is Prod for calendars? Audio? Backups? Font management? No idea.
What I do know is that as a piece of marketing communication, this email gets an “F.” Oh, wait, they don’t give those sorts of grades any more, do they? Well then, it gets a “B – - – - – - -” (with the number of minuses being significant as placeholders for letters which could complete a appropriate word).
Would it have killed these people to have included in the subject line of the email or the first paragraph, a clue as to who they are and what their product does? Might they want to give me the teeniest little hint about why I might like to download the update they’re hyping?
From a marketing communications viewpoint, the irony here is that adding a little bit of actual identifying information to their email wouldn’t have cost them a cent. Going to their website (which I would never have done if I weren’t writing this blog post) I discovered that the product has an excellent tagline that explains exactly what it is, what it does, and why someone would want to acquire it.
This company is halfway there in terms of MarCom. Now all they have to do is get their tagline into their “marketing” email.
<rant mode off>
If you write web content for a living, you need a sense of humor. That’s why I feel confident prescribing Mark Dykeman’s post “The Doctor McCoy Guide to Healing Sick Content.”