We’ll ignore the fact that Verizon Wireless knows I already have a Verizon MiFi, since I happily subscribe to one of their not-cheap monthly plans. We can chalk up that segmentation failure to a mobile marketing manager who didn’t de-dupe the customer list.
We’ll also ignore that it’s bad business to send a new-signup discount to people who already bought the product (like how Time Warner Cable regularly sends postcards reminding me that if I weren’t already a loyal customer, I’d be paying only $29.95 instead of $44.95).
So I replied ‘X’ to opt out, just as they instructed (above). Verizon responded:
VZW FREE MSG: This unmonitored mailbox can not handle your reply.
I like my MiFi and I’m generally pleased with Verizon’s service. But they’ve illustrated exactly how not to do mobile marketing:
- Send irrelevant ads to unsuitable prospects. As a VZW customer, I expect the occasional promo. But they’re abusing my opt-in trust when they send an untargeted offer (and they had the information to know it was irrelevant!).
- Annoy your existing customers by reminding them that new customers get better deals. Do I care about getting a $30 discount? Not really, when I’m already paying you $1,680 a year, but no need to prompt me to get out the LCV calculator.
- Don’t let people unsubscribe. Verizon wouldn’t let me opt-out afterwards, either intentionally or because nobody tested the reply-to code before blasting out the May 21 promo message.
I tweeted about the problem to @VZWOffers a few minutes later on Friday night. I didn’t expect a solution over the weekend, but as of Tuesday night — two business days later — Verizon still hasn’t responded.
This is a minor problem in the greater scheme of things, but after just recently hearing about the right way to do mobile marketing, it makes Verizon Wireless look incompetent. So Verizon, do you have an explanation? And everyone else, what should the company have done differently?