I’m an Amex corporate cardholder. I opted out of receiving marketing communications when I joined (I know, a little hypocritical from a marketeer, but hey). Despite this, I got this gem from them recently:

Subject: Important Update on your Corporate Card

Ooh, I thinkI’d better read that.

We would like to inform you that we will be contacting you annually to advise you on your email communication status and see whether you would like to review your preference.

Our records show that you have chosen not to receive Marketing emails from American Express® with information about the various benefits from American Express Corporate Card, including:

  • Updates on the latest advantages of Corporate Membership
  • Details of reporting and purchasing solutions
  • Invaluable expense management white papers and research – and much more.

At American Express we are dedicated to ensuring our Cardmembers are aware of the continued and varied benefits their Cards provide. To be kept informed of your Corporate Membership advantages, simply click the button below to update your email status.

IMPORTANT: By clicking the update now button you consent to receive E-mail offers from American Express, including offers on behalf of our business partners.

Are they serious? They lure me in with a serious-sounding subject line (note that misleading subject lines are actually illegal under CAN-SPAM), only to spin me a sales pitch thinly veiled as an annual check? The automatic opt-in button (even for third-parties) was a nice final touch.

We all want to reach out to our customers, and it can be frustrating when they opt out of marketing communications. But this kind of email insults the intelligence of the recipient, and antagonises themespecially when it’s not personalised, and when the service they receive is one that they individually didn’t even sign up for. Amex clearly doesn’t respect my wishesand they’ve gone down in my estimation as a result. It’s a great reminder to us all to treat opt-ins seriously. Your customer database is much better off with fewer, better records.

Posted by John on 28 November 2010