Yes, marketing is a bit of a different world with a different set of rules. Sometimes those "rules" are a little weird (I'm a marketer, so I get to say that, I guess). And, yes, sadly, the people pushing for a hello@ email are the same one's who will somehow want to incorporate laser cats, unicorns, and the word "wanderlust "in your website copy. For the record, please don't let them. It's a bad, bad idea.
They think they're showing themselves to be trendy and truly believe that a hello@ email will send a message that says, "Hey, we're not like all of our other stuffy competitors. We're informal and we care." The irony of it all is that studies have shown that when a company tries too hard, it loses ground with potential customers. Trustworthiness trumps friendliness in converting site visits to sales. The same concept applies to email.
In short, a hello@ email is prime example of trying too hard.
Marketers can't help it. We tend to major on the minors and most times, the minors pay off. A lot of processes truly benefit from a tiny change or adjustment. What most business owners and workers perceive to be "minors" turn out to be actually be a pretty big deal. [Insert awful website or logo horror story here] But at the end of the day, we say they're major because statistics back up those claims. There are none for hello@ emails. SPAM, of course, is always a concern, but in reality, any address advertised on your website is going to be at risk for being spoofed or for being hit with endless sales pitches, pyramid schemes, and secret fortunes from Nigerian princes. That's where technological infrastructure comes into play.
In fact, a quick Google search reveals that the only people who really want hello@ emails are marketers. Most arguments for it somehow, someway reference Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, but they only reference half of the theory. They conclude that "hello" is friendly and pleasurable and should then be used. But here's the rub. According to the theory, before the "pleasure" layer is added to a product (in this case the email), it has to first be "functional, reliable and usable." If the so-called "pleasurable" aspect undermines the product's primary function, the whole thing falls apart.
Think of it this way, one really great way to make your product pleasurable is to make it free. "FREE! Take one! Love our company!" You'll get an instant boost in popularity, your Facebook follows will soar, and people will clamor for your product...and then you'll go bankrupt from not making any money. Yes, free is great on the consumer end, but it fails to be functional, reliable, and usable for the long-term. It isn't functional, therefore isn't sustainable and is relegated to the region of useless fluff. Granted, using the word "hello" in place of "info" won't cause the whole process to fall apart, but it's very unlikely it will provide any real value either.
The intentions expressed by your marketing department are worthy and pure, but they're not based in the real-world of your ideal audience. They're based on a trend that marketing firms and freelancers are doing to grow their business. Freelancers and established businesses operate in fundamentally different fashions.
Marketing is nothing without your market. And the key to communicating with your market is to get them the information they want as quickly, easily, and painless as possible. Customer experience is everything. An email can be as "friendly" or "trendy" as a company wants, but there are two more pressing questions to be asked, and any marketer worth their salt will innately ask them as they create their customer interaction process. They are:
- How clear is this mode of communication to a user?
- How convenient it is for them to use?
An info@ email is more natural. To be blunt, there's nothing more frustrating than trying to remember an email because it was weird.
When you take the market (not the marketing) approach, an info@ email will be the "friendliest" option. Why? Because a person sending an email to that address is...wait for it...looking for information. Being straight-forward helps them find what they're looking for quickly. The friendliness, sales aspect comes into play once the email is sent and a reply is given. For example,I always begin my "sales response" emails this way:Hello [Name]:Thank you for contacting [Company Name]! [Immediate launch into answering their question]
Two birds, one stone. The customer is happy because they've quickly found the way to get their question answered, have gotten a friendly, genuine greeting, and gotten their answer quickly and painlessly.
There's also a second avenue to consider...the email address itself may be irrelevant. If people are primarily contacting your company through your website and using a contact form, they may not even know what address is being used. In that case the problem is a moot point. Of course, the debate of whether an email address listing or contact form is more effective rages on and the common consensus seems to be to use both. Yes, according to your post, the email address is listed on marketing materials, but in all honesty, that seems a little shady to me. In those cases, the web address should suffice and, in my opinion, would look more professional.
All in all, I think it's foolish to think that a hello@ email will make a difference. It's most likely a moot point. In all honestly, it might be a hill, but is it the one you'd be willing to die on? If the Marketing Department is truly concerned with this, the best way to find a answer isn't just to change the email, it's to test the concept. The fact they haven't proposed this makes me wonder about their prowess. It might not be a bad idea to create a hello@ alias for the info@ email, run an A/B test, and see. It will be easy to see which emails are coming in from each address. But at the end of the day, I'm fairly sure the results will be the same. It might be more prudent to look at the CTA's (Call-to-Action links) on your page and see if they need tweaking, need new copy, or need a new, more prominent location and leverage your website on all marketing materials.
Because here's one final fact, adding an email address to marketing material is in the same league as using cliché "learn more" or "click here to view" links on your website. They're proven to create uncertainty, cognitive strain, and create a negative end-user experience. Why? Because they make users feel like they are told what to do or being made to work in order to learn.
Alternatively, by placing your web address on your materials, you are effectively placing the power back into their hands
It empowers your users to do as much or as little research as they want and the one's that want the information will be more concrete leads. It also increases the curiosity quotient of your customer engagement. Simply adding the link, whether the site is visited or not, helps foster the mystery and increase interest. The human brain reads all of this as a positive experience. And, in turn, your users will subconsciously associate this feeling of positiveness with your brand.