I know there are all kinds of issues around the online and marketing industries and how much data they’re collecting about us. Anil Dash recently reiterated on Twitter the reality that Facebook in particular is a data collection company more than anything, compiling information on us that is used by others to better sell us various products.

But two incidents in my own experience make me think that some companies aren’t even trying.

First, I got an email marketing message from a company I’ve done business with and which has significant insights into my spending habits. The email asked if I was going to be heading out on spring break soon and if so would like to offer me some travel tips.

This company should absolutely know that at no time in the last 20 years have I taken anything resembling spring break. If I’ve traveled at all around this time of year, it was for work. There’s zero data in my financial profile that would suggest the whole family has taken a trip like this and therefore nothing that would make this message relevant to me.

Second, one of the ridiculous number of unsolicited PR pitches I receive (a result of being included in Cision’s media database several months ago) not only didn’t grab my name from MailMerge – “Hello, [mediacontactname]…” – but it didn’t include any sort of unsubscribe link.

If you want to pitch me, that’s fine. I’ll unsubscribe if the pitch isn’t relevant to me or outside of my interest areas. But you *have* to give me the option to do so, otherwise I will absolutely do everything I can to mark your emails as spam so your delivery rate is hurt.

We were supposed to be making marketing better. We were supposed to be moving to an era when messages were delightful and relevant. It seems we still have a long way to go.

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.

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