Segmentation is overrated, and other lessons from an “impersonalized” newsletter email campaign

A few weeks ago, we sent an email campaign violating a marketing best practice. Surprisingly, it was one of our best-performing emails this year.

Blue Seedling hosted a (fabulous) founder event in NYC. We emailed our entire marketing database our newsletter, prominently promoting the event in the subject line and in the first link. Over 90% of our database isn’t NYC-based, but the email also had other valuable content for everyone, so we felt good about its composition:

To our surprise, email metrics were some of the strongest we’ve seen this year: a 52% open rate (💥), 170 clicks on the the NYC event link (more than the number of NYC folks in our database), and the usual low unsubscribe rate we see for our newsletter. We also got a good number of event registrations.


  1. Interest beyond location. People clicked the event link even if they’re not NYC-based. The event then served as a strong branding element for Blue Seedling.
  2. Segmentation / personalization are overrated. “Relevance” is broader than you think. “Segmenting your audience” and “personalizing the message” are two marketing “best practices.” Marketers are trained to eliminate any irrelevant content for every single member of their audience. However, the results of our experiment show that the definition of “relevant” is broader than we often think. People are interested in content that isn’t immediately applicable to them, or at least aren’t put off by it.
  3. People are curious. We have clients who insist on segmenting by industry – tailoring different versions for healthcare, financial services, and retail prospects. While this approach has its merits – after all, HIPAA regulations don’t concern retailers – many people are keen to explore content outside their industry. For instance, a case study on how your product aided a Fortune 500 retailer’s digital transformation could very well captivate a healthcare executive.

The bottom line

Segmentation is overrated. Many people like to get inspired outside their box of industry, company size, and location. Don’t deprive them of this pleasure. 🤸‍♂️

Further reading

Netta is the founder and CEO of Blue Seedling. She loves third wave coffee, thin crust pizza, and B2B marketing.

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