Is your marketing making the customer think too much?

by Alexa on September 24, 2010

The other day I received by direct email the following announcement (red font ) from a start-up company. (All names have been changed, so if the links work I will be surprised!)

It occurred to me that, despite his best efforts to be personal and informative, the founder didn’t think all the way through the reader’s experience.  I point this out as a cautionary tale not to forget that others may not be as immersed in your product as you are.  Don’t assume knowledge.

I have integrated my comments (black font) into the message.

Am I being too harsh?  How would you have reacted if you’d receive this message?

* * *

Subject: Your Nanohold account can be activated now. [Oh, that’s exciting! What the heck is Nanohold?]


My name is James. I’m the founder of Nanohold. [Alright, that explains who the “James” is in my inbox.]

Some time ago you have expressed an interest in trying out our service, but your account was not activated automatically.  We were running on limited resources and could not accept all applications right away.
[So I know why I’m getting this email now, out of the blue. No wonder I have no idea what Nanohold is. But you have my attention now.]

The good news is we have started a new company, Minuview (  And this company helped us to increase resources for Nanohold, so we have an opportunity to activate your account now.
[Uh, I’m confused. I’m supposed to be happy about a new initiative, Minuview, when I still don’t know what Nanohold is? Which account am I activating – Minuview? Nanohold? Both?]

Minuview ( offers an awesome service, which we built for ourselves.  We started with the vision.  We both believe that to be successful we need to know our weaknesses.  We think that nobody should consider themselves to be a smart, efficient and pleasant person until somebody else does – even if sometimes we seem not to care.
[Wait a minute. You love this new service, which you built to serve your own needs, but what is it? And what is Nanohold?]

Minuview is a service that allows us to gather ratings and reviews from people with whom we know and stay in touch. This is an ideal way to improve teamwork in an employment environment or perhaps just to improve a social life. Self-awareness and knowledge is a very powerful means to achieve ambition and attain a more satisfying life as a whole.
[Four paragraphs into this email and *now* you’re explaining Minuview?.]

Nanohold users were given an exclusive offer for those who will register during this week at Minuview (  You will get an unlimited and absolutely free account.  Your account will be automatically converted upon registration into its privileged status and you can keep it for life.  Even if you are not sure whether you want to improve your professional or personal skills, yet, it is still a good idea just to try it out and see how Minuview ( can help you.
[Hmmm, I must be slow. Does Nanohold replace Minuview?]

Thank you for your interest in Nanohold and our partner, Minuview.  Please note that your Nanohold account will be automatically activated within 72 hours.  You don’t need to ask for activation page again, just login with your username and password.
[Fabulous! Within 72 hours I’ll be able to access a service about which I know nothing with a username and password I have no idea if I’ve been given. It doesn’t get more exciting than this!]

Regards, James.
[Thanks, James. You meant well.]

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Unmana November 29, 2010 at 8:49 am

No, I don’t think you’re being harsh at all! “James” should have done a much better job of explaining what he wanted from you (assuming this email is legitimate).

2 Alexa November 29, 2010 at 8:53 am

Thanks for commenting, Unmana. The email was legitimate and certainly well intentioned. It just missed the mark.

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