• Christina Pappas

When Merge Fields Go Wrong



I like merge fields within emails. They give me a chance to personalize the email by automatically inserting the values of fields from my email database. There are so many uses including first name salutation, company name in body text, account owner in signature. Your data is your limit. Your data is also where merge fields can go wrong.


Here is a great example of an email I received last week where it was obvious beyond obvious that the person sending it not only used an automated system but that their data is really badly formatted. Take a look,

Hi Christina — I like what you do, and I was intrigued when reading about you Lee Marketing. If I understand it accurately, Why you Lee Marketing? Client focus. You will work directly with you Pappas, who has 20 years of experience in lead generation and demand generation. I would love to hear more about it in our exclusive session below.
It seems like you went to Johnson & Wales University, nice! We are inviting a few of your alums to this session too.
We've reserved a few sessions for handpicked companies to share how we've helped them. Please accept our exclusive session invitation (attached deck here) to learn more.
Have a great week!

There are SO many things wrong with the way the merge field functions for this sender. And honestly, I'm embarrassed for him a bit because even if this was something really interesting for me to pursue, I was so thrown off by the bad format that I simply dismissed it. All I read were the mistakes.


'you Lee Marketing'

'you Pappas'


I see what happened here. For whatever reason 'Christina' was replaced with 'you'. Maybe this would work IF 1) the last name field were not merged as well and 2) my first name was not used in my company name. In either case, this email was composed, fields merged and sent without any review.


TIP: Use merge fields carefully! You need to have a clean and formatted database to work well. And always test before you hit send.
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