Email Campaign Gets an “A” on Design, “F” on Offer

At first glance, the email below from security solution provider Symantec seems engaging, attractive, and well-designed. And indeed, it is all those things. From a lead generation perspective, however, the campaign is a hot mess. Here’s why:

First and foremost, the offer is devoid of value. Witness the first paragraph:

symantec email campaign“Find out how prepared your business is to fend off cyberattackers by taking our quick, four-question Code Signing Security Assessment. After completing the assessment, you’ll know how to keep your code secure with Symantec(TM) Code Signing Certificates.”

Now, I have no issue with “self-assessment” offers, and indeed I’ve seen them used very successfully for other high-tech products. But here, any perceived value is obliterated because I’m told that the primary reason to take the survey is to learn why I should buy Symantec’s product.

I wrote in a recent post about how B2B marketers are seeing diminished returns from content marketing initiatives because they insist on pumping out content that is essentially product collateral in sheep’s clothing. This campaign is a perfect example. Here is a content offer that purports (on the surface) to offer an honest evaluation of code vulnerability, but is in effect an invitation to a sales pitch.

How much better would this campaign be if it promoted the value of the assessment WITHOUT introducing the product? What if the reason to take the assessment was to discover how to detect code vulnerabilities? Or to learn just how exposed my applications are compared to best practice standards? Or how my code stacked up against 4 key factors that are shown to protect critical applications?

But here, no, I’m being told I should take the assessment so I can learn how Symantec can protect me. Thanks, but no thanks.

The issue is compounded by the introduction of multiple offers that risk competing with, or distracting from, the primary call to action. The free flashlight USB is the least offender, though in my view it cheapens the offer and only serves to reinforce the lack of value therein.

But wait, there’s more! If you sign up for the assessment, you also get to “access” the white paper “Protect Your Applications and Reputation – with Symantec EV Code Signing.” That’s right, if you’re not convinced by the assessment to buy our product, we’ll send you a white paper that will!

And finally, there’s the offer to “call a Symantec specialist” to have your questions answered. Such “call us if you have questions” have no business in lead generation emails because 1) they distract from the primary call to action (the assessment), and 2) they only underline the overwhelming perception of being sold to, as opposed to being offered information of value.

Offer aside, the email is actually well-structured and easy to read. OK, it took me a few minutes to figure out what those green tentacles are, and what the heck they have to do with code security. But otherwise, the headline is bold and action-oriented, the offer is front and center, and the call to action is repeated multiple times. (One quibble: the CTA only appears in button form, which means if the reader has images turned off, the offer will be invisible.) Even the copy itself is concise, punchy, and drives response at every opportunity.

What a pity that the offer strategy is so, well, monstrous.

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