From time to time I’ll pull a message from my inbox and do a walk-through of its pros and cons. These gentle critiques are intended to educate; I hope that the companies mentioned as well as readers will keep that top of mind. 

I always try to be gentle with these critiques but this time… it’s Microsoft, for heaven’s sake!

Microsoft, which so many people have a love-hate relationship with.

True story: in the mid-1990s I had a boss who refused to let our marketing department become a 100% Microsoft shop. His last stand: we used Lotus 123 instead of Excel. Every other department in the company used Excel. During budget period we were constantly having to translate spreadsheets back and forth between the two programs. and just about every time you did it something was lost. It was a bit of a mess.

Microsoft, maker of my Surface Pro, which I love. But also Microsoft, which still causes me heartburn as an email marketer because its Outlook email client blocks images by default, making it more difficult for my clients’ email messages to make a good first impression.

So why, oh why, does the Microsoft Rewards Team send emails which are more than 90% images – and which look like nothing when images are blocked? Case in point…

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From time to time I’ll pull a message from my inbox and do a walk-through of its pros and cons. These gentle critiques are intended to educate; I hope that the companies mentioned as well as readers will keep that top of mind. 

This is the tale of three email messages, sent over the course of four months from the same organization. As with any great story, there are high points and low points to this tale — read and score it yourself, decide whether the positives outweigh the negatives. This organization is certainly trying and making progress, but are they succeeding?

The email I received yesterday, the last of the three, follows. Read it quickly, gather your thoughts, then read my thoughts below. Read More →