Good marketers understand the value of a well-timed and relevant reminder email. Reaching a prospect or customer with a value-oriented message when they are considering a purchase decision is crucial to campaign success.
I’ve purchased flower bouquets several times over the past few years from Proflowers.com. In general I have found the site easy to use and the overall shopping experience to be good. In fact after a recent purchase of flowers that began to look shabby after only 4 days I contacted Proflowers and they made good on their guarantee by sending a replacement bouquet within a reasonable time period. Good stuff.
But the email below while well-intentioned contains a fatal error that will be difficult for you to find.
Extra 20% Off
Mark, give Mom a gift she’ll want to show off to all her friends. Order today and get an Extra 20% off* gifts over $29.
Spoil Mom with 20 Rainbow Mother’s Day Tulips with a Free Vase, just $23.99.
Or send Mother’s Day Spectacular with a Garden Green Vase for just $23.99 – a total savings of 52% with your Extra 20% off!
Hint: it’s not the offer or pricing. Actually the offer is a good one and the pricing seems fair. The layout is also fine, clear and not overladen with graphic elements.
Give up? The fatal flaw is that I cannot send my mother flowers for Mother’s Day since she passed away nearly seven years ago. Let’s just say that when I read the offer it did not make me feel anything but sad. I still miss my Mom and think of her every day. I will never feel the same way about Proflowers.com again.
How could Proflowers make such a stupid mistake? It’s hard to fathom. Did they send this same email to all their current/recent customers? If so there are undoubtedly many people who had the same reaction that I did. The copy could easily have been modified to capture the feeling of giving flowers on Mother’s Day. But as soon as the copy read ‘Give Mom a gift she’ll want to show off to all her friends.’ there was no way out of an embarrassment Proflowers created all on its own. Had the copy read ‘Flowers and Mother’s Day were made for each other’ or anything along those lines I would not have been put off at all. Once the email is made personal by mentioning Mom and her friends you’ve entered the twilight zone of stupid marketing.
Is it possible that Proflowers could know if my mother was alive or not? The answer is yes it’s possible but if they knew and still sent the email that makes it even worse! Chances are Proflowers had no idea of my mother’s passing – or if she had any friends or not BTW (she did but still…).
Email marketing is a profitable and important business particularly on the retention side. I find it incredible that Proflowers.com could miss the mark so badly.
Am I oversensitive here? Do you have any good stories on how a marketer tried to get personal and made a big mistake?
Yes! With the proliferation of follow-up marketing, I found this one to be creepy:
The company sent an email to me about increasing sales leads. The email was well done and it made me curious about the company to see what they had to offer, so I clicked on the website and took a look. The next morning I got a phone call and message on voicemail (I didn’t give them any information). The sales person said “You clicked on the email and went to the website, so I know you must be interested in xxxx.” I felt spied-on. If she had waited a bit longer into the day and not mentioned the track I followed explicitly I wouldn’t have been put off by it. We all know that tracking exists, so use it carefully, but don’t rub someone’s nose in it while trying to sell something!
That is totally creepy Megan and another great example of how not to use data in marketing. What worries me is that there will be more ‘shots in the dark’ like this since some companies just look at it as a numbers game. Appreciate the read and the comment and hope all is well.
Mark and Megan, I apologize for the reminder emails we sent you. Please allow me to be assistance to you. Please contact me at 888-855-3486 or email@example.com to remove such emails to be sent to you. -Mike
It’s a good thing that Proflowers is using social media listening Mike and thank you for your offer. Removing my name from emails is a reasonable response and offer but that’s not an outcome I was seeking. The Proflowers.com email practices will hopefully be reviewed and altered and if that were to be the outcome and as a result someone else would avoid my ‘experience’ then it will be a good outcome. Of course our team would be more than happy to help!