We’ve inserted a banner ad to your left, one we came across this summer while visiting one of our favorite Info Tech websites. (For those unable to access images, the ad copy says this: “Celebrating 95 years of history, service & innovation. Be apart of our next milestone.”)
80% of you will miss the grammatical error. The advertiser, D&H, one of the larger IT product distributors in the U.S., isn’t asking you to join its next milestone (a part), but rather to stay away (apart).
In Part 2 of this story, we’ll discuss what this says about a company’s marketing discipline. For now, we want to tell the story of how we reached out to D&H.
We don’t know anyone at D&H and couldn’t care less about its business. But seeing the error on the banner ad made us feel embarrassed for the company. Bringing it to the attention of someone at D&H seemed like the right thing to do, especially if D&H was planning to run the campaign for an extended period of time.
The “Contact Us” portion of the D&H website was useless for Corporate/Marketing contacts, but we at least left a comment for the “Website/Technical” people (probably the deepest black hole in any company’s “Contact Us”). We then reverse-engineered the Marketing VP’s email address, and sent her a note.
Would you be surprised to hear we received no response? A simple “thank you” was all that was required. (For what it’s worth, the “apart” banner ad seems to have vanished.)
Maybe “tweeting” to some corporate D&H Twitter account would have been better. Or posting something on the company’s Facebook page. Or some other “social” thing.
The more we think about it, the sadder we get. Isn’t email between two named human beings more “social” than public postings, where one (if not both) of the parties is hiding its humans behind a corporate handle? The two-bit marketing gurus who get all the attention nowadays say to be “authentic” and “passionate” and “personal.” Doesn’t email between two named people win on all three of those counts?
How ironic. The email channel is one of the marketing department’s favorites when it comes to, um, marketing. Yet, when it comes to being “social,” email isn’t a part of the mix – it is, rather, apart from it.