The following is a letter that Marketing Profs sent out after they mistakenly distributed 7 emails all at once to their entire database. This is an organization that marketers look to for information and education. Even the so called authority can err quite badly from time to time. What they did do right is address the situation head on, as opposed to ignoring it.

A Note to Readers

Humble Pie

First of all, if you are reading this newsletter today… THANK YOU. It means that you didn”t unsubscribe (or blacklist us) following our horrific email error last week.

The error was this: As part of a segmented test to our subscriber list, we had planned to mail seven different messages to entice MProfs subscription upgrades to Premium. But instead of getting one of those offers, as intended, each of our 180,000 subscribers received all seven emails last Thursday. We only realized the error when the complaints started rolling in. Well, crashing in, really. At that point, the damage was done. All we could do was stop the bleeding, in the words of our Customer Service Maven, Shelley Ryan.

In such times, the only thing you can do is apologize, sincerely and profusely-and take the necessary steps to ensure that our list isn”t subject to that sort of misuse ever again. So most of the people on our small staff dropped whatever was at hand and personally responded to every individual complaint we received. (And there were a lot.)

We also immediately drafted a final email of apology (subject line: “We goofed-SORRY!”) in which Director of Membership Marketing Sharon Hudson explained and apologized for the error:

“Dear Valued Member: We are so sorry for the many messages you may have received from us today. It was not intentional. We”re running some sales tests right now, and we made a technical mistake in our selection process. Believe me, our hearts are heavy with regret for this error.

I assure you we are very protective of your email address, and would NEVER intentionally engage in this type of practice. Please forgive us.

If you have emailed us to complain, thank you. We hope to respond to each and every one of you personally as well. Thank you for your understanding.

For online publishers like MarketingProfs, our subscribers are both prized and highly valued. To offend any of you is anathema. When I asked Sharon about the lessons learned from the fiasco, here”s what she listed immediately:

1. First off, don”t do it again. Ever.

2. Check (and then double- and triple-check) email selection settings.

She added that the silver lining is that many of you expressed both sympathy and a true passion for MarketingProfs. While we had our share of nasty notes and unsubscribes, we also found that many readers were exceptionally kind andunderstanding.

I know its been a panic-stricken day; wrote one such subscriber. “But you”re dealing with MARKETING professionals, for goodness” sake…. We”ve all done this or something like it before.”

Again, thank you. We appreciate your support.

Until next week,

Ann Handley

Chief Content Officer and Keeper of the Blog