As consumers, we all want personal communications. Messages from companies that give enough of a crap about us to deliver what we want, and to avoid sending us endless appeals about stuff we aren’t interested in.

As a marketer—and a consumer—I pay particular attention to those who do it right, and make me feel special. And for those who do it wrong… I might never forget (or forgive). Sometimes when a poor example of personalization arrives in my inbox, the temptation comes over me to call them up and give them pointers to fix it, but I usually refrain.

We’ve all seen this occur time and time again, and it’s probably better to make light of a situation than to dwell on it, so here are my top “bloopers” of personalization.

Hello {FNAME}
Yes, I actually received an email that included the variable code rather than my actual name. Is that a poorly designed system, or someone who doesn’t understand their system? Either way, it was a bit offensive. A blank space would have been better.

Missing Variable
I was waiting on this email to insert the appointment date on my calendar as I knew I would not remember the verbal instruction. But… I still don’t know when they are showing up. I guess it will be a surprise!? I hope I’m not in my pajamas when they arrive!

Missing the Last Step
I received an email and the subject line was personalized with one of my interests. SCORE! When I clicked on the link and went to the website to order the item, I was taken to a generic page of items. I had to scroll through five pages of items to find what they were specifically offering me in the email subject line. If they had just gone one extra step, they would have had a satisfied customer, and more revenue. I didn’t really need the item anyway, right?

Siloed Data
When purchasing a home, I acquired the loan through my regular bank. Several months later I received an email stating that my updated debit card was in the mail, but it never arrived. When I called to inquire, they told me they had mailed it to my previous address. REALLY? Obviously they do not have a unified database! To this date, I still do not receive my statements. And yes, most of my banking is now done elsewhere.

When you encounter blunders like these, you realize that the marketer did not take the time to either know his medium, ensure the data is correct, or to implement the campaign correctly. And if they didn’t take the time to do it right, should I take the time to read their message? I don’t think so… that’s what they make the DELETE key for on your keyboard.