I just received an email from Ticketmaster reminding me two upcoming Wilco shows on 11/24 and 11/25 at the Auditorium Theatre here in Chicago. This is a great example of simple intelligence in which Ticketmaster is proactively alerting me of an upcoming show for a band whom I’ve bought tickets for in the past. Problem is - I already bought tickets for both of these shows at 10 AM this morning!

Having worked at a company who sends millions of marketing emails daily, I understand how difficult email marketing is to get right. Although I didn’t check the message header, my assumption is that Ticketmaster is likely outsourcing their message processing to a company who specializes in that type of service. If you’re using one of these companies, you’re scheduling your campaign hours, if not a day or two ahead of time. Regardless, I doubt that Ticketmaster performs any checks like this to see if the recipient’s email address already has purchased tickets associated to it. To me, this type of service is a no brainer…and it’s this type of “I know who my customer is” intelligence that will help companies continue to strengthen their customer base (great products helps too).

An example of someone who does this pretty well is Amazon.com. The last time I bought a camera from the site, I received an email a month later that checked to see if I needed an extra battery. I’m sure the recommendation algorithm was pretty simple to build (check to see what I’ve purchased, recommend related accessories)…but man was I excited when I saw this message because I really did need an extra battery.

I think this type of marketing is going to get really interesting over the next few years.