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Silly Marketers – Tricks are for Kids

trixrabbit1Sometimes marketing pieces catch my attention and create thought. I look at the message, call to action, and design elements of the marketing. I consider the effectiveness of the piece in my life and think about how it might be received by others as well.  In an effective marketer’s toolbox of tricks is the ability to create a perceived need for their products and services. But can we take back the prize from the rabbit or will we fall to seduction of the message?

Is data driven marketing like the creeper?

People like messages that are relevant to them. Someone once said to me, “If it can help my life then good, otherwise don’t waste my time.”  But is it a little creepy to think about how much the marketer knows about us? My wife and daughter comment all the time about online ads that show products they searched for a couple of days ago. They call it big brother. I call it big cookie.

A couple of examples of marketing in my life this week:

#1 – Acura Vehicle Buy Back

I received a letter via postal mail from the “Acura Vehicle Acquisition Department” this week. They’ve been after me for several years because they want me to trade-in my 2004 Acura for a newer model at a local dealership. What they know about me is that I purchased a 2004 model Acura from them as a pre-owned vehicle in 2007. I suspect, but I’m not sure, that they know I still own the car. (probably by-way of some public data record source on the vehicle VIN)  The letter uses variable elements of my name, the year/model of the car, thee closest Acura dealer to my home, and the sales manager’s name at the dealer.

This form of marketing at least takes an educated guess that I may be in the market for another car since the one I have is ten years old. But it ends there. The call-to-action and marketing offer say they’ll keep my payments the same on a newer vehicle on their lot. That of course would be a neat trick since I’ve owned the car for years.  Can they match $0 monthly payment?

I should also mention that I love the car. It’s been such a good fit for me that even at 10 years old and 145K miles I still love it! There’s a teenager in my life that will need a car soon. What should I do?? 🙂

#2 – Dollar Shave Club

A few weeks ago I wrote about subscribing to the Dollar Shave Club. It’s time for my first monthly supply order and I received an email from the company this week with notification. I was thoroughly impressed with the email. They informed me the date of my shipment, the contents of the shipment, and offered to put additional related products in the package if I notified them before it shipped.

Dollar Shave Club Reminder

That email is a great case study in both marketing and customer service. I like the cross sell for additional products with both product photo and price. The call-to-action is very clear with the big button for purchase. How easy could it be?

Certainly I’m aware that the company’s “shaving butter” is higher priced than my existing shaving creme. But the product does work differently from the creme and maybe I would pay a little extra not to have to pick it up at the store.

Thinking about the marketer behind this email I see several advantages they have. They use my  customer profile to establish the base of the message. (What I’ve ordered in the past and when the next supply ships.) But now, they are also starting to collect more data on my usage and interests. They know I opened the email. They know when I opened the email. They’ll track to see if I order any of the complementary shaving products and could use that for future offers.

Should we help the marketers?

The upside to helping the marketers is that gives them opportunity to craft more personal and relevant messages for us. The downside is that it requires sharing what many consider private information. So who wins the trick?

1800PetMeds email marketing and your pooch

It’s been tough to find time to write this past week with the kids school ending, kids activities, and home projects. I did come across an email from 1-800-Pet-Meds in my inbox. The email was a marketing promotion to reorder heart worm pills for my dog. They knew it was time for me to reorder because I had ordered a 6 month supply from them 6 months ago.  We typically use this e-Retailer because they offer the same medicine as our veterinarian but at substantially lower prices.

Now, what was nice about this email was that it was composed in the form of the site shopping cart. The heart worm pills order was already in the cart. All I had to do was click to jump to their site and then click again to order with my profile information. 2 clicks and my order was complete. Fast, easy, and timely. Nice marketing job guys!

I believe this form of email marketing works well for a couple of reasons:

  1. It came from a merchant that I’ve used in the past (Trust)
  2. It offered a product that I’ve ordered in the past (Relevance)
  3. It came at a time when I would probably need to order this product (Timeliness)
  4. It offered a path to complete a transaction in two clicks (Efficient and Simple)

This type of email is an effective way to earn customer retention as repeat business.  I believe it creates customer loyalty as it focuses on the need of the customer based on some simple analysis of past behaviors.

What loyalty marketing programs advertise to you? Do you appreciate targeted marketing emails like this?