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Why #MAfails Have Nothing to Do With Coincidence and Everything to Do with QA

I am a firm non-believer in coincidence and this past week is no exception.

It started with a simple email send, and those words point out my first mistake – nothing in marketing is that “simple”, and even if it were, it still deserves a full measure of quality assurance. This email, however, was not granted the proper treatment, leading to my #QAfail of amateurism.

The email was only a paragraph long, the send-to list was an audience of merely forty, and the template was one I had used just weeks prior. It looked good inside of Marketo and it looked fine in the test emails I sent to myself, so I sent it on its merry way out into the real world. I bypassed our normal testing process, because like I said, it was a really simple email.

Let’s take a look at what went wrong:

Maybe I should have called this post a #QAfail, because that’s what it boils down to.

  • The preview and header text of the email: I forgot to update the text that shows in the preview of an email, so it was sent with placeholder text from the template I used. Worse than that, the email’s heading was completely misaligned when viewing on a mobile screen. Are these huge issues? No, but it doesn’t look great coming from a team of marketing experts, and while the email was simple, the now hard-to-read message was still important.
  • The audience that received the email: There was a big gap between the people who received this message, and the people who should have received this message. No, the list I built did not have any flaws in execution, the problem is that I didn’t take a step back to think strategically around the real audience of that list.
  • I skipped the testing process: This is the most important mistake of my #MAfail. We have testing criteria for these very reasons, and it is not a difficult or time-intensive process, yet I still made the active decision to ignore the most important piece.

As Kim Para states in her #MAfail blog, spending more time to review an asset before it is released is always worthwhile. Once a message is sent there’s no going back, and for the most part, there’s really no excuse aside from user error with my mistake. There are wonderful email testing applications that make QA a breeze, and there’s always another set of eyes available to make my simple mistake, simply avoidable.

I had no intention of adding to our campaign of marketing automation fails, yet here I am – now an honorary member by no other fault but my own. Coincidence? I’m still not a believer – not yet.

Have your own #MAfail to share? Leave a comment or hit us up on Twitter using #MAfails

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