Hart Creative Marketing Inc. / Rip-off!
The goal of this project was first and foremost to let customers know that we are still here and better than ever. We have updated our database making it easier to use and more secure. The Email was intended to go to specific members who canceled and never bought a computer. We were not sure which Email style would work best so we decided to send different styles out in batches and monitor the progress. We were unhappy with the copy - I mean modified picture - of the professional Email Jerry Hart created, so we used one by our staff and another one from a web copy writer in the experiment.
This meant 3 different styles of Emails went out to different groups of canceled orders by order date. We worked out the dates so there were an equal number of recipients from each order time period. In addition, the Email batches also created a buffer, so we were not swamped with calls since we were inviting customers to call - over 14, 000 customers would receive this offer.
Problems occurred from the very beginning. Our staff was egger to assist in the project to make sure it was as successful as possible. We know our customers very well, so this accompanied with a Email marketing professional seemed like a flawless plan. Unfortunately, we ended up dedicating much more time and effort than Jerry Hart. Although we are based in Thailand, we offered Jerry a toll-free number for him to call or called him back so he would incur no fees for his 'best practice consulting'. The meetings were billed for several hundred dollars for his valuable information, which we felt wasnt so valuable.
One example is his drip drip method where you concentrate on a small selection of customers who did not respond or open the Email and you send them more until they do answer. Of course each drip would be an additional fee on-top of the more than 3, 000 we were billed. The project was going to billed in milestones - but again this was more false promises. We were billed once which we paid promptly and then billed a few days later on our credit card which deviated from the plan. We did not authorize that payment and no Emails were sent out. This was a foreshadow of what was to come
If you look at the newsletters you will easily see Jerry spent no more than 5 minutes. We had to create the html and Email safe newsletter even though he promised to do so. The copy and layout that we were presented after paying the full amount and after 2 weeks of best practice meetings:
Jerry Hart Email Newsletter : $650
Third Party Email Newsletter : $100
Staff Email Newsletter : Free
Jerry Harts Email layout had a number of errors:
1. The message was completely wrong and gave a sense that their computer was recently ordered.
2. The customizing data format was not check which affected the Title and Greeting.
3. No tracking code was installed.
4. Our company was misspelled at the bottom.
5. The layout is not professional - no where near worth $650 - and displays incorrectly
Each of these Emails were sent out to an equal number of our customers. First thing that had to be done is import our customer database in to the Email sending program. Jerry Hart uses Listrak - which is a great online marketing software. We bought it through Jerry Hart so the account is in his name and we were billed through him. Unfortunately, can no longer use it - BUT - we could always repurchase an account. So a service we paid for from a third party company, we can no longer use unless we use Jerry hart.
When it came for the moment of truth of sending out the Emails and monitoring the progress of the batches we encountered more problems. The batch system that we spent time creating were not followed and a large mass of Emails were sent out at once but ONLY of Jerry Harts Email. This Email had errors and created numerous complaints. The complaints were understandable and an unnecessary confusion. Since most of the orders that were mentioned occurred over 3 years ago, customers worried that someone was making unauthorized transactions and/or were a victim of identity theft. This is a very serious issue for all citizens of the new digital world. We had the most unsubscribe with his Email.
Furthermore it contained no tracking code that we even offered to put in for Jerry Hart. The tracking code is basically an extension that is added at the end of links that our database is able to track to purchases. For what ever reason, this simple addition was left off.
After numerous requests, were was given access to the Listrak account so that we could fix the problems in Jerrys Email, add tracking codes, create the batches for the other layouts, generate copy, and finally send out the other Emails. All of which that Jerry promised to do verbally, but then later was denied as he stated, "It was not listed in the contract and required additional payment."
Finally, at the end of the ordeal the stats further supported our thoughts of Jerry Harts incompetence. A far greater amount of customer unsubscribed from our Email program with the first massive batch that Jerry Hart sent. Also, there were ZERO sales attributed to Jerry Harts Email. The number of complaints was far greater with Jerrys Email. Complaints from the other Email were just statements or questions on why were were contacting them years after their initial request which is a valid point but it provided a reminder of us and opportunity for them to be removed from our mailing list.
We wanted nothing more to do with Jerry Hart, but our other staff thought that we may be able to salvage some of the money and expenses occurred by receiving the final $650.00 dollar template that was promised and fortunately stated in the contract. We hoped that we would get a frame that we could modify and then end the relationship. Rich had sent countless Emails, layouts, pictures, sales message and etc. to help develop a successful layout. We were already billed for this even though we were promised milestones so it seemed like our only option anyway.
We would accept no more toll-free calls and wanted nothing except the newsletter that we had already paid for. We would not have to worry about copy or pictures since he proved drastically incompetent in the previous template. 2 more weeks passed and Jerry wrote to admit his mistakes and his desire to prove himself with results. A few more days passed and he submitted 2 layouts! This was a big step for Jerry Hart - but of course in the end our hopes were unmet. The 2 professional layouts were forwarded Email newsletters from other companies they were dated a few days prior to his recent submissions. We receive hundred of newsletters in our Spam folder from an array of companies. The 2 forwarded newsletters were pretty much unchanged from the original company with a few minor wording changes. If I were going to attempt something as blatant as this, I would have at least forwarded the best newsletter I could find in my Junk mail box. These were horrible and not orginal or creative in anyway.
Our final offer for a peaceful separation was for a refund for as much as possible. I am sure you can imagine how much we were offered. Yup ZERO! Which incidentally is the same number of times that Jerry Hart has contacted us afterwards. Although, by every means this project was a complete failure we always try to remain optimistic and take what we have gained and moved on. We learned that the professionals will not be able to help us and that it is best to leave it to ourselves. We know our customers the best and we have a much more invested interest in making sure our customers our pleased. We are in the process of constructing a new Email plan and improve communications with our customers.
On a final note I would like to recommend that if you have considered Jerry Hart or looking to do an Email or any sort of marketing campaign Jerry Hart is not your solution! If you do have a solution we are interested in learning about it. However, we will give you the same introduction we did to Jerry. We are more than fair and we pay based on results. We do not need to hear reasons or excuses. Jerry Hart had numerous examples in his portfolio and we are interested in hiring who ever created those as they were very convincing. The Internet is filled with various con-artist and false promises - it is very difficult to know what to trust and believe on the Internet and our next project will be billed upon completion.