I was in Moscow last week with Jeffrey, waiting in the lobby for a taxi. I passed the time taking screenshots of “promotional” emails and ads with their corresponding landing pages. After clicking through some ads and emails I needed to vent.  I posted the following message on my Facebook profile:

Frustrated at the state of email marketing. Decided I would look at some of the “promotional” emails whisked away from my Inbox and decided to click through to some of the landing pages. Only one who consistently does a good job is Land’s End. If I click on something in your email, take me to that thing on your landing page. Really, why is this so hard to get right?

If you went out to eat and saw the sign below on a door,  what would you expect to see on the other side?

What would you think of the place if when you opened that door you saw this:

Would it give you second thoughts about eating there again?

Yet, this happens all the time in email marketing, display advertising, ppc advertising, etc. This is what is called broken scent. Now you now why people often say that marketing stinks 🙂

Let me show you just a couple of examples from that day:

Email from Beyond the Rack:

What would you click on? What would you expect when you get to their landing page? Here is what I found:

Email from Marmot:

Let’s assume you can even read the white on white text but decide to click on one of the product images. What would you expect on the landing page?

Register? Register for what? Wear are the jackets we saw?

Fantastic! Round-Trip Flights from $114 from Travelocity. Click on that, what should we get? Not this:

Where are the nationwide flights for $114?

This is not limited to just email marketing like I said earlier. Here is a banner ad I clicked on CNN.com:

The ad is for the Nokia Lumia 920. What should we expect on the landing page?

That isn’t the same phone. That isn’t even the same language from the ad. 🙂

Only Lands’ End gave me hope.

The email promises 30% off of everything. What do we see on the landing page?

Really, is this so hard to do?

Why does this happen to your marketing?

Because as my friend Vincent Van Der Lubbe shared with me on Facebook:

“Not my department. I do email marketing and are measured on the first click. My colleagues are responsible for the website ;-)”

Companies incentivize for silos and broken experiences.

Despite their intentions  strategy follows their structure. Their data lives in different groups. The person responsible for driving traffic is not compensated based on actual sales or conversion but on clicks and visits.

Want to improve your marketing efforts so that it longer stinks and provides disruptive customer experiences?

1. Compensate people based on the same goals your company has. Develop your measurement framework based on meeting goals as a team not by individual roles. Do not use artificial ego-boosting metrics that don’t show how they influence your financial bottom line.

2. Start your marketing with your landing page and ask yourself how it answer your personas’ questions and needs. Then choose an ad or email that would make them want to click and see that page.

This is all really basic. It’s 2012 and we have powerful analytic tools to understand direct impact, attribution and true ROI.  Yet we’re still doing marketing like it’s 1982. Come on! It’s time to do your advertising differently in the age of agility.

It’s time companies’ digital teams took P&L responsibility more seriously. Fix your marketing and boost your sales by creating teams and destroying silos.



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