Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mistaken email about Email Summit

I have a bit of an ego.
So I believed it when I got an email yesterday from MediaPost that asked me to attend the upcoming Email Insider Summit as a VIP guest. The email said the "cost of your airfare, hotel accommodations and conference registration will be paid for by MediaPost."
So I spent a few minutes thinking about the offer. The conference, scheduled for late May, conflicted with a few things on my schedule. I also wanted to know if I was being invited as a consultant, in which case I was happy to have MediaPost pay, or as journalist, in which case I wouldn't let them pay. So I didn't respond to the invitation, and instead made a note to call MediaPost and ask for details.

Then, a few hours later, I got another email from MediaPost. This one said: "
We apologize if you received an email from MediaPost earlier today inviting you as our VIP guest to the Email Insider Summit," it said. "That email was intended to be sent to a list of 50 top brand marketers in the industry, that have already agreed to attend the event."

Now I'll confess that -- despite my ego-crazed belief that all conferences can benefit from my attendance -- I was a little surprised by the original invitation.
I don't know a soul at MediaPost, I've never done any business with them, and I've never been quoted in any of their publications.
But I was still flabbergasted to learn that the invitation was a mistake. And I'll admit that I -- who have made some pretty stupid mistakes in my day -- laughed out lout to find that someone would send the wrong email invitations to a conference about email!

I looked in vain through that second email for a sign that MediaPost found the whole thing funny. But there was no acknowledgment of the humor in the situation. MediaPost did "
apologize for the confusion and inconvenience that error may have caused you." But it didn't say anything about how funny this particular error was. I think that's a mistake. I can't be the only person who got the wrong email and found the situation hilarious. I would think that the right way to handle the error would involve showing a sense of humor.
Nor, for that matter, did MediaPost offer me a discount on the Summit or offer some other form of restitution. And that's likely a mistake too.

second email did tell me that attending the Email Insider Summit would cost me $2,495 plus airfare and accommodations. Needless to say, I won't be going. And that's too bad. Because I would like to know what the marketers who fork over $2,495 to learn about email think about the error and how MediaPost handled it.

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  1. Paul,
    What a sad, yet funny, incident. It only highlights, in my eyes, the shortcomings of e-mail.

    I feel, as you might, that the death knell has rung for e-mail newsletters, and this incident only underscores that fact. E-mail repeats all the pitfalls of print, and as a source for news is, in my opinion, dated and worthless.

    Thanks for sharing this incident. It made me laugh while it reinforced what I've long thought about the medium.

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    I'm glad you got a kick out of it. The incident is very funny. And I can't help but think that MediaPost missed an opportunity by not seeing that.
    And yes, I do suspect that email's days are numbered. Not in days or weeks, perhaps, but numbered nonetheless. RSS is a superior product for users. And sooner or later, content producers will have to face that.

  3. Paul,

    I too have been invited, then disinvited, to events such as this more than once. Perhaps it happens because sometimes we move from one supposedly high profile position to one that has yet to reach a proper height of profundity, and our names are still on some list.

    These moments are almost as painful as the day at the back of the security line when you realize that you are no longer an Execuive Platinum Uber-member on American Airlines, but back to being a good ole basic Frequent Flyer... it sucks to be a regular person again.

    Your post should serve as a gentle reminder to those Top 50 Brand Marketeers that they aren't being invited for what They can contribute to the event, but rather because MediaPost and the event Sponsors are investing in them as Prospects. VIP really stands for Very Important Prospect!

    I haven't looked, but we might even discover that the "expert" speakers are actually paying Sponsors and not highly sought soothsayers like yourself.

    Too bad the publishers have taken this page from the Pay-to-Play community.