Tuesday, January 4, 2011

shotgun emails don't hit the target

When I'm teaching segmentation and target marketing I often use the analogy of shooting: a rifle picks out a single, identified target and a shotgun fires off a thousand pellets in the hope that it hits something useful. I apply the same concept to email marketing. If you send thousands of emails one might hit the target -but like the innocent victims who might get caught in the shotgun blast, most people simply get fed up with a constant barrage of irrelevant emails arriving in their inbox. The net result being damage to the brand. My example of this comes from kitchenware retailer, ProCook. 

Back in November I saw a dish drainer in one of their retail outlets, but not in the colour I wanted - so I went online and order one in a suitable colour. That's it. A one-off purchase. I hadn't even heard of the company before this. And I doubt I am in their target demographic. Certainly the product arrived promptly - but the emails soon followed. This culminated i[n the run-up to Christmas Day] when I received a promotional email from them every day from the 11th to the 24th of December. That I was deleting them without even opening any should have triggered alarms at ProCook - I just was not interested in their promotions. Or for that matter, their products. Sure, I could have hit the 'unsubscribe' button - and to be honest I let them keep coming just to see if they would take the hint and stop them without me saying.

Equally bad for volume - though I am, perhaps, in their target demographic - is Orvis. Previously in this blog I have praised their service and quality of product [see good after-sales service], but since they delivered the jacket I ordered, they have also delivered a promotional email every two or three days. Again, I deleted most without opening them - that should have been flagged on their system.  

Oh sure, I know the run-up to Christmas is peak sales time and in a poor economy companies have to go for every last penny with the potential for gifts as well as personal purchases - but hey, both of these examples are closer to blunderbuss than shotgun - and there has been collateral damage to the ProCook and Orvis brands.

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