if you don't have a value for gender/salutation in your database, you could run a little database manipulation that worked quite well for us. Take the top 1000 German first names for males and females (Verzeichnis:Deutsch/Liste der häufigsten männlichen Vornamen Deutschlands – Wiktionary) and run a little Smart Campaign to assign a gender value based on these first names. In German, first names match genders pretty accurately and you'll catch like 85% of all cases with the top 1000.
But eventually - the folks in this thread said it already - you should collect the gender value from all your forms. And in addition to what Greg said: We use Formula Fields, too, but Email scripts work fine for creating various salutation strings, too. In case you want to bring in a little more variety such as "Sehr geehrte Frau Müller", "Liebe Frau Müller", "Liebe Ina Müller" or whatever.
Super risky, IMHO. While people are used to seeing their name spelled wrong, you'll get people very angry when you assign the wrong gender. Lived and learned on that one. And nowadays you have the concept of not being assigned a gender so you could infuriate people even though you got it right.
I would just stick with First and Last. Even if it's self reported it could be wrong and just make them angry and write angry letters to your CMO calling you bad names.
In the US at least, this project should be titled, "How can we alienate more leads?"
I fully agree that you have to get it very right and that wrong gender could do a lot of harm.
But on the on the end, in most countries with a latin culture, the usage of gender in an email start is the right way to go and even the word "dear" has a gender in German, French, Italian or Spanish. In these countries, starting an email with just the first and last name is considered as blunt and Dear first name considered a little too informal. And finally, as Michael pointed out, the first name - gender match is also much better in latin countries than in anglo-saxon ones.
So at the end of the day, I would consider this topic as a very cultural thing and would not consider that the same way of handling it should apply everywhere.
Not risky at all. 🙂
You guys are talking about the US - but Thomas and I were talking about Germany.
"It must be possible to determine the gender of the child by its first name."
There are exceptions and ambiguities - as always - but the chances to get the gender right by assigning it through the first name are extremely high.
Thats really an interesting read! Please consider that especially in Germany, it was already tricky but becomes even more complicated due to a high percentage of expats,the free movement of workforce and nowadays refugees which do not allow a standard rule in terms of names. Unfortunately
Agreed, Greg. In America we have a lot of mixed gender names, ungendered names and reverse gender nick-names. Many masculine French names, for example, are female here. I know men named Kelly even though it's a traditionally female name. I've seen Sanford use an email address of Sandie which is typically more female but not uncommonly male. Robert, Robb and Bob are men, Bobby is just as female as male.
I understand that culturally there are differences and I'm thinking about this with American eyes. Even using Dear is weird in my opinion as you're not a Dear friend of an automated email system.
I never start an email with "Dear Gregoire," I'd start it with "Gregoire- " or "Hey-" or if I know everyone personally "Ladies". I mean, where I'm from it's perfectly normal to address a group of women as "Guys" but you'd never go the reverse.
I tend to stay away from putting in names. Too often I've seen it look more wrong than right. People put in silly names because they're drunk or pranksters and now you have an email calling someone a bad name. This one - I swear this happened. We sent out an email to A** H*** (asterix intentional) because the phone rep couldn't spell the name. I've seen all sorts of profanity in name lines as well. When it's on the web and self-entered you can expect data quality. Or all caps name, lower-caps names, etc.
I tell people to stay away from using names unless you have to. My autocomplete defaults to Robert because that's what's on my credit card, but I NEVER go by Robert unless answering with the phrase 'Yes, your honor." When I see it, I know it's just a database talking back to me. In fact, I hate it more. You all know me as Robb. If I suddenly got emails from you saying "Dear Robert" I'd know I was on your mailing list somehow.
I've seen Sanford use an email address of Sandie which is typically more female but not uncommonly male.
Sandy tho. I was named after Sanford (Sandy) Meisner.