I love working in the digital space. It is ever evolving with new and fantastic technologies to make our world a better place. I come across new channels, media and ideas everyday and I love seeing how my agency will take these and come up with new and amazing creative ideas for our clients.
This ideal forms the mantra for everything we do at Cowan Group and stems from the early days, back in 1999, when I first started applying creative, direct marketing techniques to email.
To celebrate our new top 10 position in New Media Ages Marketing Services guide for Email Marketing I thought I’d share with you the story of my first ever email broadcast…
It was 1999, we’d just started edesigns.co.uk and after launching our e-letterhead product we were asked to do what was one of the first viral email marketing campaigns for the Marketing Week Email Conference.
We came up with a viral campaign based on Pass-the-Parcel. At the time there was no way to broadcast emails in bulk, the likes of Expedite Fax were just getting to grips with the idea, and so we had to build a broadcaster.
The job of doing the actual send fell to me. The instructions from the developer were explicit in the order to which we queued up the email addresses, assigned the subject line, loaded in the graphical content and started the send, in batches to be safe, and whatever you do “DO NOT PRESS THE BACK BUTTON” in the browser.
The broadcaster we built literally sent each email one at a time, albeit pretty quickly, creating the email, assigning the personal information, queuing it up to send, adding the MIME formats, confirming broadcast then onto the next one in the list.
Going through the entire sequence each time, with a load of batches to get out, took quite a bit longer than we had anticipated and time wasn’t on our side. So I started thinking it would be ok to speed the process up. One way I noticed to do this was to hit the back button. It didn’t seem to affect things too badly and actually sped the queuing process up dramatically. So out the emails started to fly…
I little while later, broadcasting still going, my phone rings.
“Hi Mate, how you doing?”
“Yeah okay thanks, what’s up?”
“Well, I really like the Pass-the-Parcel email you sent me, I’ll be coming to the event, but I really didn’t need it 16 times….”
I wish I had a picture of my face as I ran to the broadcast computer and pulled every wire I could grab from the back of it. This was the fastest way I could think of to stop the broadcast quickly and abruptly.
This taught me a some valuable lessons; listen to the developer, don’t try and take short cuts, and if you ever have to press the send button always check everything is setup absolutely perfectly – I still get sweaty palms doing a big send as now-a-days a million emails could have been sent before you know anything is wrong…