Just a month ago I was writing a scroogy blog post about how to do holiday cards the right way. I’m surprised every day by how many people find it organically, but perhaps I should have also written a post about holiday email SPAM, because this month I’ve been pelted with it.
It starts with the Black Friday deals and snowballs from there — I’ve unsubscribed from more email lists this month than I have all year. I even unsubscribed from one of my favorite bloggers, Erika Napolitano, because she just happened to pick a bad month to do a blog-a-day campaign. I’ll probably go back to her later, but that was a bad idea.
The worst offender was Western Digital. I bought one of their external hard drives four years ago, but never hear from them (and I don’t want to!). They had the nerve to send me a Happy Holidays email with a video in it. At first I didn’t know who they were. Not only did I unsubscribe without watching the video, I replied to their generic “email@example.com” address and let them have a piece of my mind.
At the Office
It’s even worse when the business you work for wants you to push out these horrible holiday emails. Our just-out-of-college inside sales guy came to me this month and said our illustrious leader told him to get my help crafting a “happy holidays” email to his contact list. I asked, “are these the same people you emailed right before Thanksgiving — people that you don’t have a relationship with and didn’t opt into any list?” He said yes. I asked, “how many replies did you get to that email blast?” He got 6 replies from 400 emails sent. Soapbox time.
Here’s the thing about holiday emails: everyone is trying to clear their inboxes. They’re gunning for “inbox zero” so they can get to their kid’s winter show, get the air mattresses out of the basement for house guests, and pick up extra wrapping paper … you get the idea. When you send these pointless “happy holidays” emails to people who have no idea who you are, you are messing with their day — their HOLIDAY — and they will hate you. Would you like me to explain that to our illustrious leader?
I very calmly walked into the president’s office and explained my Inbound marketing position on holiday spam campaigns. The response went something like this: “I appreciate your opinion, but I want his (inside sales guy’s) name to get out there. The more they see his name, the better. Doing it after the new year is no good because that’s when I want him cold calling while they have their new budgets.”
OK then. I also don’t agree with cold calling because I’m constantly on the receiving end of bad cold calls, and I’ve heard our really bad cold call script. Here’s where the subject of this blog post comes into play.
Time to Let Go
The best lesson I’ve learned this Christmas is something I just realized since entering my 40’s: how to let go of things that don’t match my values. The most recent example being the freelance client I broke up with because he’s the definition of marketing insanity (I love him, but he is insane).
So today I resigned from my Director of Marketing position after 16 years. There’s a lot more backstory of course, and all will be revealed here and on my LinkedIn profile in mid-January. But “letting go” is the best marketing and life lesson I learned this Christmas, and I’m happier than I’ve been in years.