Wednesday, May 14

Shutterfly ... Whoops

Everyone in marketing is talking about "big data."

Big data to mine insights, big data to track customers, big data to drive programming, and big data to measure.  Well here's proof that big data is only as good as what you do with it ... Shutterfly.

Shutterfly released an email campaign yesterday congratulating people (women) on their newborn baby's arrival, and then reminding them to buy thank you cards to everyone who gave them a present.

The problem is that their database was none too accurate, so many people on the list weren't women (which might have been ok if they'd just had a baby), many on the database hadn't had a baby recently, and in fact many on the database were struggling with either a recent tragedy or with infertility.

So much for using big data to help segment and communicate with your customers.

Big mistake.  Big social media mistake as well.  What hurt even more, if I'm going to be completely honest, is that the brand tried to sell a product amidst the congratulations.  They should have left it at hello, and let consumers draw their own conclusion as to what they could do with the brand.  IMHO.

People took to social media toot sweet, notably Twitter and Facebook, to voice their upset, outrage, cynicism, and in some cases snark.  Not the response the brand intended, I am sure.

An honest mistake, I am also sure ... so we should cut them a break for sure ... and all learn from it.  It's an immense lesson learned that if you are going to try to relate to people, and you're going to use data to figure out who they are, then you better get your data and your story straight.

What's your experience?  JIM.

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