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The Next Shiny Thing

by Kim MacPherson  |  
November 12, 2002

I'll bet when you read the title of this article, you thought, "Neato bandito--an article about the latest and greatest high-tech tools and gadgets in the e-mail marketing world!"

(Okay, so maybe you don't use phrases like “neato bandito.”)

Or maybe you thought, "Sheesh. Not ANOTHER article on yet another set of tools that I'll never use."

Well simmer down, slugger. That's not what this article is about. Quite the contrary.

There's certainly something to be said, generally speaking, for some shiny things—what we fun-loving, easily distracted humans tend to go after. In the e-mail realm, they can include promotions that use animation, voiceovers, video and Flash.

Since we're marketers, we often like to explore so-called sexy tactics like those that gain our attention. It helps us think of how we can apply them to grab new eyeballs from our own prospect pools.

However, when we do this, we often lose sight of the fact that we're marketing to people, and not eyeballs. Unique people at that—each with her own internal blueprint that determines all the variables that ultimately make her respond. And for many people, both online AND off, "sexy" just doesn't sell.

I had a conversation recently with a colleague—a bright, ambitious young woman who was telling me that the only commercial e-mails that captivate her nowadays are the ones that use nifty tricks that take advantage of the movement and sound that this medium offers.

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Kim MacPherson is founder and chief copywriter for Inbox Interactive (, one of the first agencies dedicated solely to email marketing. Reach her via

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