Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How NOT To Do E-mail Marketing #147

In my business, I tend to work with a lot of online marketers. I also tend to work with a lot of companies who look at loyal customers, and focus on ways to keep them loyal. So, when I come across a particular example in my personal life of one that does both so badly, I have to point it out.

Today's example is a company called Haggar. I know, you're thinking "the people that make those expandable slacks my grandfather wore?" Yes, them. About 10 years ago, they invested heavily in a new brand image: hipper, cheaper, and good quality. They opened a ton of factory outlet stores, while bringing the new lines into retailers like Mervyn's, JC Penney, etc. And thus the modern Haggar was born: a mix of casual clothes and traditional suits at extremely low prices, with modern styling.

5 or 6 years ago, I used to commute 120 miles each way to work. I know, sounds insane, but I loved the company, and the commute started in Marin County, CA, and ended in Monterey, CA: now, if you have to commute, that's the route to do it. Midway was one of the largest outlet malls in Northern California; I'd stop off occasionally to get a burger, coffee, or pick something up. There, I discovered the new Haggar, with their $5 silk shirts and $10 khakis, it was always easy to pop in. They expanded into designs emulating Tommy Bahama, etc., and I was really hooked. Later, my devotion to them extended to their Petaluma store, after I stopped commuting down South, and I routinely stopped in to part with my cash for their products. They had me on the mailing list, even did special orders, and more. Heck, the Petaluma store people knew my name and by sight!

So, we have a loyal customer, who spends lots of money with you, and has even provided specific marketing information about themselves. How do you communicate with them? I guess, if you are Haggar, like this:

Ok, first, I understand locations close. Hey, my business was not enough to keep them going. Here's why this was such an egregious example of poor e-mail marketing:

- Why is this the first message I received about that location? Why not tell me before hand, maybe offering me incentives to visit for "closeout" pricing? A completely perfect revenue generating opportunity wasted: you're telling me they preferred to pack and ship the merchandise out of that location, rather than discount it and sell it to me? C'mon.

- They clearly know I like that location; they sent me this e-mail, after all. But you are telling me they can't offer me a list of other nearby locations in the e-mail? Instead, I have to visit the site? Ok, I can accept that's a clever way to get me to interact with the site and potentially buy something...if they had e-commerce.

- On that same note, the link to the site to find other nearby locations links only to the homepage. Instead of delivering me to a store locator, I have to crawl around your bad site to find one of the worst locators ever: lists all locations in CA, including department stores, only to find the one outlet? Ugh.

- This e-mail was literally this HUGE image. Nothing else. This is the way you want to convey bad news? Not with an incentive to visit the other location, or maybe some text to soften the news? Nope, that's how they roll.

Loyalty and E-mail marketers out there, beware...

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