Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays and thanks for following my blog. I am looking forward to 2009! Here is a great video to end the year on!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wrapping Up The Love: Cause-Related Marketing During The Holiday Season

Wrapping Up The Love: Cause-Related Marketing During The Holiday Season

Not only do foundations get much-needed support during a time of high need, but positive brand relationships are fostered by the partnership between companies and their customers.

Several retailers encourage subscribers to give during the holiday season, using email messaging to invite donations or participation. Each of the brands mentioned below takes a unique and admirable approach to holiday giving.

Macy's: Rather than asking for dollar donations, Macy's invites its subscribers to drop off Santa letters, and pledges to donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation for every letter received, up to $1 million. This allows subscribers to feel like they're participating in the giving, but also establishes an image of generosity for the donor, Macy's.

Petco and PetSmart: Everyone wants to be home for the holidays, right? PetSmart and Petco try to find adoptive homes for homeless pets over the holiday season. Both brands use email to advertise opportunities to adopt animals -- or donate to programs if subscribers want to help without taking home a new family member.

Sears: Sears encourages subscribers to join it in supporting U.S. troops with its Heroes at Home Gift Registry. A strong CTA in the email links to a landing page with video and program details.

Williams-Sonoma: Across its brands, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. uses email to encourage donations to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and then follows up by sharing its successes with subscribers. This Pottery Barn Kids email features a prominent banner that encourages giving. Customers are more likely to trust in the sincerity of brands that are upfront about where money goes and how much money is going there. This thank-you note sent out last holiday by Pottery Barn solidifies the trust of subscribers who donate, encouraging the longevity of the program.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Burger King’s scent of love now flame broiled!

I am not kidding:)


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind" series

Take a look great stuff on Social Media from one of my favorites and a great guy Seth Godin.

Facebook and Wikipedia co-founders: what they've learned
Seth Godin hosts a conversation with Facebook co-founder Sean Parker and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to find out what they know about social networking, branding and online marketing on OPENForum.com's "Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind" series. The takeaway — your business doesn't need to reach the entire world online, just those that want to buy your product. CLICK TO VIEW

Monday, December 1, 2008

Retail email over reaching?

WHILE MANY OF US COOKED....... a Thanksgiving turkey last week, there are signs that many retailers have already started cooking the golden goose -- the email goose. Email is a wonderful tool -- measurable, cost-effective, easily deployable and convenient -- all gold in the marketing world. My guess is you agree, or you wouldn't be reading this. However, as the economy falters it is easy to lose track of the fact that while email is a wonderful relationship-building tool, it can do major damage when used incorrectly.

I already see many retailers overburdening in-boxes with what I call RAM (retail spam). RAM messages are from retailers I have either subscribed to or placed orders with, whose approach to using email is to ram so many messages into my inbox that I hate the appearance of their names in the "from" line.

If these retailers are savvy, they have done some testing and have determined that they are driving incremental orders with these messages. However, my guess is that they are not thinking about the collateral damage these messages may be causing.

First, there is the damage to their brand. Every company that sends out a message is communicating with someone who has a perception of their brand. When you RAM, every message that the recipient views as an intrusion rather than a welcome communication negatively tears at that brand perception.

Second, many people you want to communicate with in the future tune you out now. While you may get an additional $22 sale now from one recipient, the mailing was a failure if three potential $500 orders in March were lost because purchasers tuned out your future messages -- either mentally or using email filters -- because of your email RAM qualities.

Third, if you are lucky recipients will unsubscribe because you have damaged the relationship. However, if your messages have really bugged them, they may click the "SPAM" button provided by one of the major email clients, which will damage your digital reputation in the process.

If you are in retail marketing, or send email in any capacity, avoid sending RAM by taking several steps:

  • Set up a mailing plan in advance that you know is acceptable from your recipients' perspective. If you are going to deviate from it (for example, add one more message because sales are down), seriously examine your motives and determine if doing so makes sense to the overall long-term business plan (not just this week's sales). Make sure that the additional message delivers incredible value and is highly relevant. Sending just another "buy now because it's the holidays" email is neither.
  • Make it easy for consumers to tell you "I like you... just send me fewer messages" in a preference panel. This way if you RAM, at least you have an opportunity to retain them as subscribers.
  • When recipients unsubscribe, provide them with an optional area to give you a reason why they are leaving (make this free-form rather than radio buttons and you will get a better view of what your customer is saying). Make sure you periodically review the reasons. If your unsubscribe rate is sky-high and you are in RAM mode, it's probably time to reconsider what you are doing.
  • Ask customers when they sign up how often they would like to receive messages from you. In some cases, you may find that you could be sending more messages if your base is loyal and your messages are important.
  • Don't try to hide your RAM in a cute concept. Last year I received email from three separate retailers who decided that by running a "12 Days of Christmas" campaign they could get away with sending messages every day (I unsubscribed from all of them).

    So as the holidays approach, don't forget that email is about relationships. One of the best ways you can thank the people who have signed up for your messages is by making sure that what you send them is relevant to them and doesn't RAM their inbox.