May 022011



Once I stripped out the spam and the person:person emails from my inbox this morning, here were the five subject lines I was left with:

  • Wall Street Journal:  Osama Bin Laden is Dead
  • [eCommerce company]:  Final Hours to Shop Our Private Sale!
  • Wall Street Journal:  Bin Laden Was Killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan Official Says
  • [Travel site]:  Last minute deals from NYC and more!
  • Wall Street Journal:  Osama Bin Laden Buried at Sea
  • Return Path (yes, my own company):  Why Whitelisting is Important to Your Email Marketing Mix

The cynic in me says “wow, nice timing on the email marketing.”  I am guessing the attention and click-through on anything other than today’s big news will be greatly diminished.

But the realist in me says there’s no way anyone in a marketing department can figure out how to optimize around headlines delivered during a 24-hour global news cycle.

Does anyone have a theory about how to think about this?  Is it even a problem?

  • Christine

    Interesting. I wonder if any marketers will decide to pull today's campaigns for that reason. It seems to me that today would be a good opportunity for marketers to do some research on the interest of their users. I also wonder if the last minute deals out of NYC were intentionally timed, rather than the opposite.

  • Jeff Rutherford

    And, then you have this Ragan's PR Daily story titled, "PR Pros, Don't Even Try to Pitch a Story This Week."

    News of the magnitude overwhelms everything else, and I'm sure there are marketers tweaking or pulling back on campaigns this week having realized that. But, with automation and editorial calendars for marketing content, it's hard to hit the brakes immediately.

  • J.D. Falk

    I think this shows (once again) that human beings set their own context when reading email — and no amount of market research can override the real world.