I'm beginning to think that if you want to find an example of the worst practice for any marketing or communications activity, you need only look to telecom giant AT&T.
They are the local phone company here in Houston. Recently I wrote about my experience with their email marketing: if, when you place an order for service, you indicate that you don't want to receive any advertising email from them, you get it anyway.
If you then unsubscribe when it shows up... it keep coming.
Apparently they use the same type of "unsubscribe" system as the nice people who send me email offering me Viagra.
Tonight I discovered that their web site is equally bad. It's one of those sites designed to make it very hard to communicate with them, unless you're trying to buy something. Do you want to send a message or find a phone number for their corporate office? Sorry, no.
The web site is designed to prevent customers from communicating with them. You can't even find our the address of their corporate headquarters there. The overall feel of it is "Do not dare speak to us."
And they probably wonder why consumers hate them so much.
The advertising message I got today had a line at the bottom:
This is a commercial email from the AT&T Marketing Communications Team
2600 Camino Ramon, Room 1S050M, San Ramon, CA 94583-5000
So here's my message to the team in San Ramon: you are embarrassingly incompetent.
Actually, I'm going to send them the message the old-fashioned way: by mail. Because the giant company that's plastered all of Texas with billboards about their high-tech offerings makes it impossible to use any of those services to reach them.