Email marketing, creativity, and more than “good enough”

If it’s good enough, why should we care?

Despite the fact that it quite loudly betrays my inability to just relax and let things go, I find it easy to get excited or worked up over or distracted by things that most people would not give a second thought to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt kind of offended by clearly canned content on a website or disgusted by a bad font choice on some billboard. Disgusted… offended… pretty strong words, for sure, but I do feel these things on a visceral level. And, after being so smitten with Ben Sesar’s comment that “all practice strives to be creative in the moment,” I’ve been thinking hard about why it’s important to strive for creativity even when going about tasks that seem routine.

Marketing email from Sony on behalf of Brad PaisleySo when I got a marketing email earlier this month, with the subject line “Download Brad Paisley’s Wheelhouse for only $6.99 this Father’s Day”, (partially because I’m an email marketing geek, and partially because my husband’s job means I’m insatiably interested in what the Plaid Paisley operation does with anything digital), I immediately wanted to see what they’d done (screenshot on your right).

I’ll give you second to be disappointed.

Okay… over it? I’m still kinda not, which is why I’m making you look at it.

First, let me say how much I LOVE the album artwork (used at the top of the email, thanks in part, I believe, to Ben Enos), as well as the job that the folks at Idea Den have done on to support the album. It looks AHHHHMAZING. So it rattled me when the email (which has a really great, strong Call To Action as the subject line, and is totally focused within the content – there’s no question what you should do and why you should do it) looked so… blah.

So… what’s with the crummy marketing email art? It didn’t come from Plaid Paisley, and I haven’t really looked into the individual responsible for this (Nashville’s a small enough town that I suppose I could find them), but I kind of feel like it doesn’t matter. I can’t really ascribe fault to an individual that this email is so blah, it’s more like it’s the fault of the big, corporate machine that pushes out dreck like this. Stuff that is “good enough” (and I’m sure resulted in plenty of sales), but stuff that is passionless and lacks creativity. It’s like the email version of canned content meant to improve your SEO while not really providing any actual value to the reader. It makes me feel a little icky. I’m glad that this didn’t come directly from Plaid Paisley, but I’m sad that stuff like this exists at all (especially in relation to an artist/brand – and a whole slew of talented support staff – who are doing really passionate, creative work that I care about).

One of those very passionate, talented people is Ben Sesar, who you might have read about last week – we’ve been doing website project management to help Ben create an eCommerce website for his video drum lessons, and our experience with his project stands in stark contrast to this email.

So what can be done to stop this? The answer can’t be some kind of anarchist call for the destruction of big business. There’s got to be some way to change the structure from within, right… at least for people who need it? Or is the only answer to strike out on our own, to freelance and network and start small companies where we’re allowed to find creativity in our practice?

All I can say is that this is what keeps me plugging away to grow BIPI into a healthy little business – the hope that for whatever problems come my way, I might find a way for them to be solved creatively and elegantly. I’m possibly crazy and a little OCD, but when I care about the brand, it makes me want to care about the marketing email art, too.

by | Last Updated: Sep 29, 2023 | shop talk