Tuesday, October 28, 2008

'my inbox' article for marketing direct magazine

Here's the 'my inbox' piece I've written for Marketing Direct magazine. Not sure when it's being published - couple of weeks I suppose - so treat this as a sneak preview.

It still amazes me how so few companies go anywhere close to doing email marketing properly.
Seth Godin said in Permission Marketing (nearly 10 years ago now, yikes!) – [email ie permission marketing ] ‘…is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.’
The key words there are ‘personal’ and ‘relevant’ .
The success of any direct marketing is directly proportionate to the level of personalisation and relevance – to me, me, me – of the content, and the level of permission I have granted to the brand.
Miss that out and I’ll most likely ignore it.

With that in mind, my losers of the month are Oasis.
Somewhere back in 1998 I must have signed up for some mailing list or other. I have not heard a dickybird since, until now when they have something new to punt.
Oasis’ PR must have hired some multi channel bright spark who thinks it’s a good idea to bombard unsuspecting punters with tour dates and release news down the phone and email with annoying frequency and at silly times of the day. I was woken up by a text message about the album release at 5am the other day and now seem to get emails about world tours every day. Despite unsubscribing the message has not got through.
Just because you have my details doesn’t mean I want to hear about every thing you are doing.
If you are playing in Guildford or Basingstoke maybe. You know where I live, after all?
Personal. Relevant.

Why persist with one-way, broadcast tactics? I’ve volunteered information and given you permission to contact me when you might have something of interest to talk to me about. I probably have a purchase history.
With Mamas and Papas I do.
In fact I just spent 2 grand on furniture with them about two weeks ago!
So their one-size-fits-all 30% off furniture in November shot was particularly annoying.
A personalised, relevant communication would have recognized that and give me an offer on some other product.

Good job I’m not a vegetarian or the the massive side of roast beef oozing pink juices featured on my Waitrose promo email might have offended. They have never asked me of course.
At least the info overload is kept to a minimum,
Though I don’t get the offer. ‘If you don’t enjoy one of our products we’ll refund or replace’ – except this doesn’t apply to their online shopping service partner Ocado – I’m already confused so they have lost me.
When I attempt an order I’m told that the ‘Waitrose Deliver’ service is not available in my postcode area.
Might have been a better idea to check that out before sending me the email.

I used to love the lastminute.com emails from a couple of years back.
Seasonal themes, cool graphics and edgy humour made them stand out form the usual boring travel industry stuff .
The format has gone a bit dull but there’s still a bit of personality.
The usual ‘ If you cannot view this email line click here..’ is replaced with ‘Gone a bit Picasso? See it clearly here’
OK, the content is not that personal or relevant but the little bit of human-ness allows them to get away with it.

I’ve crowd-sourced a contribution from Sally, one of our Account Directors on Dorothy Perkins ‘whole-site-in-an-email’ newsletter
featuring fairly unauthentic editorial supposedly written by celeb fashion ‘guru’ Gok Wan.
Sally says ‘the content is up to date, nicely written and not overly sales-y. It’s nice, clean and simply laid-out – very readable.
Asos.com did this format first but it works well . As long as it’s not too frequent, I don’t mind receiving this, and it’s a great way to harness ‘immediate’ shopping, i.e. click through and buy something online now.
I also like that the overall hierarchy puts fashion tips above the 50% off offer. Not sure about the Gok Wan content but that’s probably just me!’

With tough economic times ahead, it’s more important than ever to nurture loyalty; and make you’re your marketing work as hard as possible. By keeping the focus on being personal and relevant , rewarding those customers who are paying attention – they’ve given permission – and delivering the kind of content , offers and products (!) that reflect their lifestyle, circumstances and interests you are in with a chance.

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