I’m a big fan of a certain restaurant that shall remain nameless to protect the guilty. Over the years, I ended up on one of their email lists. For a while, their email outreach was the poster child for what not to do. They’d send generic messages, with no incentive, no call to action, no real purpose. Finally, I received an email with an offer. Fill out a survey, get $10 off your next visit. I click the link and off I go.

Problem number one: the site is painfully slow. I’m talking 10-15 seconds for each new page to load. I’m not a patient man to begin with, nor are most consumers. I’m really starting to wonder whether the next 5 minutes of watching the spinning ball is worth the $10 coupon. I decide to stick it out for now.

Next we move on to the big catastrophe. I’ve finally completed the survey and try to submit. Instead of a coupon, I’m now staring at a white screen of death with the following message:

Fatal error: Call to a member function ProcessResponse() on a non-object in /home/httpd/vhosts/surveygizmo.com/_releases/appv3/application/classes/surveyclassesv3/class_survey.php on line 2842

Uh oh. Epic fail. You have just wasted my time, and now I’m annoyed. This is certainly not how you want your customers to feel about you.  In addition, the data you are collecting is probably inaccurate, because it may not reflect the errors that users are encountering.  This is a very bad thing if you’re trying to measure the success of a marketing campaign.

Technology is a wonderfully powerful thing. We have the ability to drill down and truly personalize the marketing process for every recipient in our database. The downside is that you live and die by not only your data, but also your programming.  The only way to ensure success is by testing, testing and more testing. Yes, glitches do happen, but hopefully they are of the minor variety. Before hitting send on any campaign, do yourself a favor and test it in as many ways as you possibly can.