Petition to Ban The Phrase “Email Blast”: 5 Years Later


It’s been 5 years – TO THE DAY – that I published Petition to Ban The Phrase “Email Blast” over on the Bronto blog.

Since I penned that post on June 10, 2008 …

*Yes, this list is far from comprehensive. Ha! It was just off the top of my head … after one cup of coffee.

So … yeah … a lot has changed over the past 5 years.

One thing that has not changed? I still – yes STILL – hear folks referring to email campaigns as blasts.

While it bothers me significantly less than it did 5 years ago (I like to think I’ve mature a *touch* since then), it still makes the hair on my arms stand up when I hear “Email BLAST” used. I still cringe (a bit) when I see a phrase like this – “we are getting ready to blast to our email list.”

Why? Who cares? I mean, it’s JUST a word, right?

Blast. Blast. Blast. (Now I feel better).

Sure. It’s just a word.  But, using the phrase “email blast” implies something about how you feel about email marketing. “Email blast” says:

  • Email is just another one-way channel to SHOUT to the world why you and/or your company is so awesome.
  • Everyone gets the same message at the same time, regardless or preferences or interests.
  • Email is not part of an integrated marketing strategy. Instead, it lives in its own silo, its own world.
  • You, the marketer, don’t follow the mantra: Send timely, targeted, valuable, human emails to people who want them.

Before I conclude my rant … err … 5-year reflection, let me say this:

Yes. There is a time and a place for sending the same message at the same time to everyone on your list. Many companies are finding success using this approach. If you are one of those individuals or organizations who send out email BLASTS, I challenge you to test using some segmentation. Create a welcome email that goes to new email subscribers. Start simple. Then, move to a more personalized campaign based on what a particular group of customers last purchased. Let me know what kind of results you find.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Am I beating a dead horse with my mission to ban the phrase “Email Blast?” Should I just let it go or is it worth revisiting every few (5!) years?

DJ Waldow
Waldow Social

P.S. Have you heard the news? Nick Westergaard and I have started a weekly podcast called The Work Talk Show, where we interview crazy-smart folks about how work gets done. Give the latest episode a listen!

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To take a radio station analogy of "pump it or dump it", I say "dump it".

You wouldn't blast your clients in real life (even if they did deserve it!), why would you use a potentially violent term to describe the way you market to people or engage them?


All I do is blast. I wish I had time to segment better. I am a one person marketing team charged with webinars, product marketing, alliance marketing, channel marketing and more. We use email to drive a lot of that. Currently the company has no marketing CRM in place, and I am working on that. Hopefully when that rolls around we will be able to get personalized emails in place. Currently we use ACT. I know, stop laughing. It's not even the less sucky version. 

This all leads me to two questions:

1. Our current email client is Exact Target and I am having a hard time finding out how it is so different than MailChimp or Constant Contact. It just a lot more pricey, and more time consuming if you are not an html + graphic design wiz. Can someone tell me why they think ET is so great?

2. Pardot vs. InfusionSoft vs. SugarCRM. I have my favorite, but most likely have not considered everything. My boss has his favorite. Hint, it's the free one. What are your thoughts on the best one for a one person marketing department. My customers are a 5 person sales team.




In a team meeting a few months ago I did a mini rant on phrases that I "strongly dislike" (I was told not to use "hate") and "Email Blast" was 2nd on my list and I said that when I hear that I think of the kitten meme (Pew Pew Pew!!!).  1st on my list above it was the phrase "Above the fold".  I just simply said "Last I checked screens don't fold, and besides if you want a call to action to be in the upper half of the email, just ask if we can move it closer to the top"


I like it...let the boos start now! Maybe it is because I only send my peeps things that I think they will like and do have a highly segmented list, BUT I get all excited to see who emails me back to thank me for the AMAZING info I sent their way!


I cringe everytime I hear the term "email blast" and "wordsmithing". Both are inaccurate I would like to believe I live in an intelligent society where words mean something more than buzz! Great post DJ, love the retrospective!


Hey DJ! I hear you on the term "Email Blast."  It feels like nails on a chalkboard. (Yes, I still remember those.)  The thing I dislike most is the idea of a one-way BLAST spraying your marketing out to the ether and hoping that some sales and engagement  fall out of the sky.  I'll sign that petition!  Hand me the clipboard.  :-)

djwaldow moderator

@jameskeddington Hey James! Yeah. I know it's tough when you are a one-person team. Trust me. I get it. I am too!

1. ExactTarget: It can be more powerful, but really depends what you are using it for. What features matter most to you?

2. Curious why you are using a marketing automation company AND an email provider...


1. Features, well I guess I don't know what I don't know. Email is becoming more and more needed, and I am trying to learn as much as I can.

2. Right now we are only using ET. No automation yet. We are looking into the automation to be more personal, and it will replace ET when we hit the go button.


@djwaldow @TARAdactyl I do...hanging my head in shame...what do you letter? email message? just email...we are an excitable kind of group over here and like actions!