We're approaching the end of the first decade of the 21st century and it seems some organizations still haven't grasped some simple concepts of data management.

I hate to pick on ASAE (OK, I don't hate it, I just don't prefer it), but I received two emails from them within two hours of each other, both of which contained glaring errors.

  • The first said "Dear First Name." That's right, just call me First from now on.
  • The second said "Dear Chicago area association professional." (Hint: I don't live anywhere near Chicago.)

The first error is inexecusable. Before any broadcast email is sent, it should be tested. And simple testing would have caught this merging error. (I have colleagues who also got the "Dear First Name" email, so I know that it was a merge error.)

The second error is just bad data management. I'm assuming the list was not queried properly or the person sending the email didn't use the correct list. Either way, it was wrong.

So what's the big deal?

  1. Email like this damages your credibility. The recipient thinks: "If you can't get your email right, how good could what you're selling me really be?"
  2. Now that I know you don't really know who I am ("Dear Chicago area association professional") I'll ignore any future messages from you.

Are you sending emails like this to your members and customers. Take the extra five minutes to make sure you get it right. One error every now and then is understandable. Two errors in one day is inexcusable.