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Why Apple’s U2 album giveaway failed

Published October 6, 2014 at 8:08 am


This blog has previously emphasized how although many elements of marketing have become increasingly automated, customers still want and appreciate a human element.

This point is discussed in a recent article for Marketing Magazine that emphasizes how the human touch can never be completely replaced by an automated process. Although technology has evolved to play an increasingly prominent role in daily life, failing to account for the human aspect of customer relationships has the potential to land some brands in trouble.

Marketing Week editor Rachel Barnes describes what happened when Apple decided to distribute a free copy of U2’s new album to iTunes customers, without asking permission. The move received a mixed reaction from customers: Some were excited about the free album, while others were not pleased to have received something for free that they did not want or agree to.

As Barnes says of Apple, “the gift of a U2 album automatically appearing on their playlist was a fundamental failure to know its customer.” By automatically putting an unsolicited album into customers’ iTunes accounts, the company failed to take into account what their customers really wanted.

When considering the use of data to inform marketing decisions, companies must remember that while this type of information can be incredibly useful in targeting a specific audience and creating a relevant message, people are more than just numbers and bits of information. Technology may be a big part of daily life, but the people at the other end of the screen are still human, and brands that want to develop stronger customers relationships should bear this point in mind.

When it comes to creating marketing campaigns, automated marketing software can help provide the level of personalization that customers have come to expect.

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