Saturday, January 28, 2006

2005 Not too dumb a year for DM

The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business for 2005 are out, and as always they make quite funny reading. For Direct Marketing aficionados, here's a small selection of DM related bloopers and their rankings.

#8: The hazards of voice response
Anheuser runs the "Mr Discount-Airline-Pilot-Guy" ad and AirTran Marketing Director Tad Hutcheson feels insulted. Tad calls the brewer, gets put on hold and is forced to listen endlessly to a loop containing the offensive ad. AirTran threatens to de-list Budweiser.

#51: The hazards of Deceased Do-Not-Contact lists
The Direct Marketing Association decides to charge the deceased $1 for making the list. The bereaved object.

#64: The hazards of renting 3rd party lists
Standard procedure should always be screening against a hoax name list. JPMorgan apparently doesn't know this and manages to send a credit card offer to an Arab American man, addressed to 'Palestinian Bomber.' No comment.

#98: The hazards of database analysis
Mail order company eZiba runs itself into the ground by doing a database analysis and subsequently mailing its catalogue to the least likely responders instead of the most likely ones. Great analysis job, though!

Only 4 out of 101, and not even the highest rankings: 2005 was all in all not a bad year for DM. Then again, ChoicePoint's security breach that endangered the privacy of over 160,000 people, resulting in the identity theft of 800 of them apparently didn't make the 2005 dumb list.

Given that it's only January and we already saw nearly half a million people's records lost or stolen from employees' cars, this year's start isn't exactly promising. Let's hope for the best.

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