Do marketing consultants actually live in a fantasy world?  Like Fantasy Island without the short guy?

Ok, I just LOL’d.  Actually it’s more like ROFLMAO’d.  This article from the MediaPost Email Insider wound up in my inbox – and for some truly hilarious reason makes itself out to be for real.

“I know dynamic marketing is the right direction, but do we have the systems in place to do this?”

My client, a brand-side marketing executive, and I were talking about incorporating dynamic marketing into his overall direct-marketing strategy.

Dynamic marketing is real-time personalization, where the entire content of an email or direct mail changes for each individual recipient based on their profiles and interests. This is like Amazon’s example of “Customers like you also expressed interest in these products” — but in an email.

Oh, dear…  I started laughing and that’s just the introductory paragraphs!  Then I think I sat there slack jawed for a few minutes, trying to digest the ludicrous way that this is made out to be some real thing.

Like, check the calendar and tell me if it’s April 1 or something, because the actual number of live, breathing people who are at a point in their marketing game that they’d be able to create and manage some sort of dynamic email campaign at scale is likely about .00001% of the potential marketplace.

Of course I think that dynamic email marketing is a GREAT idea.

[Tweet “What kind of idiot wouldn’t think that dynamic email marketing is great?”]

But for the average marketer, SMB owner, or even mid-size enterprise marketing manager, this is so completely out of touch with what is actually available and reasonable to implement at the moment that writing a listicle about how to do it is like giving swimming lessons at night (that night!) on the Titanic.

Can we focus on getting everyone up to speed first with simple things like Mail Merge Tags and good list scrubbing practices before we start telling them that they need to generate completely personalized emails for their entire list?  Walk before they run, that kind of idea?

Right now there is a GIANT obstacle in the way of almost anyone setting up such a system (aside from Amazon, Google, Facebook, you know, those guys…) and it’s cost.  You’ll either pay in time to figure out what you need and how to hook it all together in some semblance of working order, or you’ll pay in real dollars, pounds or euros to get access to someone’s system that is already built.

So the conversion rates on actual sales from making this investment had better be off the charts.

By off the charts, I mean beyond anything that we’ve seen before this.  By a factor of at least ten.  That’s just for starters.  The long term conversion and revenue would need to remain super high in order to see any kind of cost effective ROI.  That pretty much counts out anyone without a really big list being able to play in this sandbox.

I’m all about forward thinking tech, and using it to get better results for the average business.  I’m also all about helping the average business determine what tech is going to generate better than average results so it’s worth the time and effort that it takes to implement these customized solutions.


I am not about tech for tech’s sake though.  Sorry.