Yahoo! Search Marketing… You Lost Me!

Direct Mail is an expensive medium. Because it’s expensive, it can’t be done haphazardly. I used to tell my clients that the opportunity to gain someone’s attention with Direct Mail was directly related to the distance between their mail box and their trash can. The only part of a direct mail campaign that’s more important than the target and the piece is the ability to execute on the campaign.

Today, I received a beautifully created Direct Mail piece from Yahoo! Search Marketing. The offer was a $75 credit towards some keyword marketing on the Yahoo! search engine. Since I just launched a social network for Navy Veterans, I’ve been doing some testing with some keyword buys.

Yahoo! Search Marketing Direct Mail Campaign

The fine print, of course, is that you need to put a $30 non-refundable deposit into the account. That’s still $45 worth of clicks that I could have used, though, so I tried to sign up. I say tried because I was met by this error message no less than 4 times in the registration and payment process:

Yahoo! Error

Direct Mail has one thing in common with any advertising. You must be able to deliver your product or service as soon as the prospect walks through the door. Inability to deliver does more damage than not advertising at all. I’m hoping that this Yahoo! campaign was a sample campaign sent out to a few folks to test the ability of their system to handle registration and purchases… but the truth is probably the opposite. They lost me! After 4 attempts, I’m not returning.

Yahoo! most likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on this direct mail piece. And the poor Marketing Director, who designed a fantastic piece, will probably be blamed for the campaign’s poor performance.

Unless, of course, Yahoo! happens to read my blog. 🙂


  1. 1

    I am always amazed when big companies screw things up like this. They are lucky you gave them four chances, most people would have stopped the first or second time. Unfortunately for the “little guy” if we make a mistake like this, our potential customers will rarely give us a second chance.

  2. 2

    Yes, but Direct Mail is expensive only if it?s not done properly. If it IS done well, then it can be cost effective. It may cost more money than something cheap/free like email marketing, but tends to be more successful. It’s measurable, customizable, and can be tested. Let’s see radio or TV do THAT. (So sayeth the DM expert! 😉 )

    Erik Deckers

    • 3


      I agree! I should have said ‘significant investment’ rather than ‘expensive’. It’s not really an expense when it’s done correctly and helps to drive so much revenue. Heck, I was ready, willing, and able to respond to this piece!


  3. 4


    Great comments. Yahoo’s marketing group has recently been losing a lot of their best people to startups and competitors. I’ve always thought one of the best direct marketing gurus is Jay Abraham – maybe they should give him a call.

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