And did you hear about the marketing-turned-creepy at Target...?
Since Target is a local retailer, even though it's a national chain, I decided this wasn't too far off base ... and the lessons are universal.
Anyway, last week Target emailed a survey to customers with questions such as whether people feared their lovers might leave them and, if they disappeared from the face of the earth, would anybody notice. News reports said it was designed to help compare the psyches of their customers to Wal-Mart customers.
The survey was stopped within 24 hours.
The Target folks aren't idiots and they're not insensitive. They were just a bit myopic about how people would react. It can happen to anyone...it can happen to you.
So here are two lessons: 1) Remember that an email doesn't always "read" the way it was intended when it was written and 2) Never get so caught up in what you want from the customer that you forget it is your job to serve them...not the other way around.
Oh, and stay true to your word: Though I'm sure Target framed that survey within a context, on the Target Web site it says, "By providing your e-mail address, you will receive updates on special offers and promotions from Target."