Dear Marriott, Snail Mail is Not the Internet

After my stay at the Times Square Marriott a few weeks ago, I received a postcard in the mail asking me to complete a survey. The first 900 people to complete the survey would receive a $10 Amazon gift card. Sounded good to me; I needed some reading for my next plane trip.

However, I soon realized the challenge would not be to be among the first 900. The challenge would be to follow the steps to get to the survey. Below is the text from the printed postcard:

  1. Enter the link exactly as it is printed here: HTTP://SURVEYS.COMMONKNOWLEDGE.COM/I4536SM?RESID=J9B47C2

Well, let’s just stop there. Clicking a link of that length is easy. Typing it into a browser, nearly impossible. Did anyone see the l (lowercase L) in there? Or is it an I (uppercase i)? maybe a 1(one)?

They did provide a way to get help:

If you have any technical issues with the survey link please send an email using the following link:

And yes, the second link was in lowercase compared to the first link in uppercase, and yes, it was underlined. If only I could click on the postcard. No, there was no phone or alternate method listed.

It’s pretty obvious they just printed postcards with the exact same message they approved for emails. It’s a beautiful case of the message not matching the medium. They could match, if Marriott purchased a simple domain name such as that forwarded to the actual survey, or just included a real email rather than a link to a form. (I’d rather type

Reminds me of the video Rich posted earlier.

3 thoughts on “Dear Marriott, Snail Mail is Not the Internet”

  1. Good point! I often think of using human factors for “evil.” Just as you can make things easier by understanding the human, you can purposefully make them more difficult.

    I know some programmers do this by including features they are forced to have (but don’t want the user touching) in an “advanced” tab. We know people are adverse to clicking the “advanced” button in general, so it’s a good place to bury things.

    Perhaps Marriott marketing wants their survey responses slanted in terms of getting a higher number of responses from those who provided an email address. Or perhaps they just weren’t thinking. 🙂

  2. In working with the multitude of departments and people that put these things together, I have found that not one person is in charge. In addition they usually do not actually test the product on “outside” users to see if it works, preferring to do internal UATS.

    On the occasion that they do solicit outside feedback, if the user has any trouble understanding the directions, it is always a result of the users incapacities and not the developers/designers.

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