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Email Marketing Gone Bad

On the airline kick here recently (must be karma) but just had to share this one. If anyone as read Dale Carnigie’s “How To Win Friends and Influence People” you will most likely remember the section on writing letters. In this section, Carnigie goes through a number of letters from companies to consumers and tears them apart, illustrating the self serving and detached nature of the company.

Recently I received an email from American Airlines. The email is solely a congratulations for being an AAdvantage member for 10 years. I’ve been an AAdvantage member for at least 20 years, so I’m not even going to start the rant on ‘single version of the truth’

So the note starts out…

Ok great! – Thanks for the special thanks! – Now let’s get to what matters – How you are thanking me for my years of service…


WTH? Why do I care why you worked hard – It is assumed that you are working hard I work hard, friggin table stakes my friend – Except that I pay thousands of dollars a year to be charged $7 for a cup of Sutter Home on your flights.


Okay – Um – Big Deal – This is what the AAdvantage program is for – You still don’t let me use my miles to upgrade on Qantas or British Airways.


More like, you have just irritated me beyond belief – Are you completely detached from customer service? – What did this congratulatory email expect to do – Have me thank you for existing?

Aside from my new distaste for American Airlines (and Maya Leibman’s lack of communication / marketing skills…  or in reality, her marketing team)  this letter plays right into the Carnigie’s comment from Henry Ford: “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.”

If Mrs. Leibman really wanted me to become more loyal to her cause – she should have offered something that I actually wanted (ie preferred status, miles, opportunity, etc) or at least have seen the world through my (or any customer’s) eyes and illustrated, yeah travel kinda sucks nowadays – Here at American, we know that we can’t afford to offer a comfortable seat, but we do thank you for being such a trooper and… you see where I am going with this, even if partially in jest. The net here is that this message does nothing for the reader, and only goes to tout the company – and pretty much without any merit

Total Fail American, …Total Fail

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