I am a subscriber of South China Morning Post. As it adheres to subscription-based business model as opposed to relying it all on advertisers, I need to pay before I can read news stories.
I remember my renewal period is every March but yesterday I received a new email from SCMP asking me to renew my subscription. Not bad to anticipate continuity of subscriber base as a safeguard amid the dropping revenues from advertisers. The offer included an attractive freebie promised to be a quarter of yearly subscription cost. Looks like it’s a good one, I reckon. If I renew my subscription now I could get a HK$100 voucher from Pizza Express, Outback Steak or HMV. If I renew later I might not avail of such offers.
So I clicked on the link inviting me to visit the apparent renewal form. The form did not detect my email address as an existing subscriber so a prompt for me to enter my login details. It should be possible to link the email with a custom page for me without the need to login. But it was just login details and not a long form to fill, so that’s acceptable.
However, after entering my username and password, the system spits out an error message that explains I currently have an access to SCMP.com. That’s right, but what’s perplexing is why I did receive the email in the first place.
SCMP’s apparent EDM mistakes are the following:
1. The email did not link my account to a custom landing page using the email address where the message was sent.
2. Did send me an outdated EDM campaign; a friendly reminder can be sent a month or two weeks before expiry of my subscription.
3. The error in the form confuses users who are asked to use another username if an active account is used. I have not forgotten my username and password.
I am not sure what SCMP is trying to accomplish here. Let existing subscribers sign up using new account? Let existing subscribers renew subscription (which I did and failed)? Maybe something else.
South China Morning Post has made similar acts before so this is not the first time a marketing campaign went awry. Now I am hoping that SCMP will still offer that gift voucher when I renew my subscription.