Don't Email Like a Clown

Please share your stories below. We’d love to hear from you. I was recently reading one of Seth Godin’s books, where he republished one of his blogs – “Send in the Clowns.” Having lived in the big companies, consulted for the large and small…well, let’s just say that I could see that this blog provides some great reminders for those trying to get their businesses to the next level. I’ve translated his broader lessons into those relevant to email marketing, in particular:

  1. “Clowns ignore science.”
    If you know anything about FulcrumTech, then you know that we live and breathe by the numbers. This lesson means we all need to be relentless testers and gatherers of the important data surrounding our email marketing. In other words, don’t just collect your open, click-through, unsubscribe, and bounce data. Really look at it. What is it telling you? Do those A/B split tests, and let good, statistically significant results — not subjective opinions — drive your actions.
  2. “Clowns don’t plan ahead.”
    I love this one. Godin talks about the big laughs a clown gets from slamming into a brick wall. Examples abound of companies that don’t plan ahead and hopelessly overspend, until one day they have nothing left. Plan your campaigns. Think through all of the pieces ahead of time, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with a little more planning. Yes, it takes time. But you may just have to spend a little less time on future campaigns if the previous ones do just 10% – 15% better.
  3. “Clowns overreact to bad news (and good).”
    Keep an even head and evaluate each data point (whether subjective or not) in the context of the big picture. Quick reactions on every piece of input can lead to a haphazard strategy and a plan that never achieves your ultimate goals.
  4. “Clowns aren’t very nice to each other.”
    OK, so this one gets to our working relationships with those around us. I’ve seen time and again that behavior — whether good or bad — begins at the top. If poor behavior is initiated or accepted at the top, it becomes an epidemic in the organization all the way down. When that happens, the worst part is that creativity, innovation, and risk-taking are the first things to go. Do the opposite — don’t stand for disrespectful behavior. Instead, build a culture that accepts and learns from mistakes, and your marketing can really go into overdrive.

Just to be clear about my view, clowns are hilarious and fun, but let’s keep them at our kids’ birthday parties or at the circus! I invite your comments on great examples of clowning around when email marketing. We can all learn from your stories.

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