Am I actually beginning to see the light at the end of what has been a very long tunnel?
I write these words in the hope some of you will gain some insight or a scrap of knowledge that will help you better leverage the power of what's an incredible e-communications platform. At times it becomes frustrating when month after month, we cover e-mail topics ad nauseam, and the net result is a substandard norm. The fact remains: consumers are growing increasingly impatient about the lack of relevance in the way we marketers communicate with them.
There are a select few, however, who have learned their lessons very well.
W: Mission Accomplished
I recently visited my daughter in Los Angeles for our long overdue father-daughter weekend. Having traveled frequently most of my life, I wasn't all that excited about spending yet another weekend in a hotel. Rosie put me up in the Westwood W Hotel. W Hotels has hotels throughout the country, and as a New Yorker I've passed by one of its trendy entrances several times.
I knew there was something cool about the place, and that was about the extent of my experience with the brand. Pointing me to the Web site, Rosie directed me to book a room (informing me the pool was very hip). The site was intriguing and graphically exciting. I chalked it up to the work of an overcaffeinated creative director.
Then the experience started.
Two weeks before my stay, I received an e-mail from the W Hotel's manager asking me personally if anything could be done during my stay to make it extra special. The message offered me a range of services, including dinner reservations and in-room massages. What was really great about the e-mail was the hotel seemed genuinely excited that I was coming to stay with them. What a concept.
A week before my stay, I received another e-mail with a 360-degree view of my room. It also let me know there was construction work going on at the hotel but assured me it wouldn't interfere with my stay. When I arrived at the hotel late Friday night, my room was upgraded to a suite at no charge.
E-mail messages during my stay asked if there was need for any assistance. All maintained the same cool, funky appeal of the earlier campaigns and the hotel's DNA. On Monday morning, I received an e-mail message from the hotel manager thanking me for my stay and asking for recommendations on improving the overall service. And largely because of these personalized, customer-focused communications, the hotel experience couldn't have been better.
Two weeks after my stay I received a survey from the hotel, asking me to grade my overall level of satisfaction. Like you, I have received many surveys over the years and never fill them in. The W Hotel earned my business, and I felt obligated to let it know just how great I felt the experience was. I gladly filled in the survey. Another e-mail arrived, thanking me for my time.
In all I received some 8 or 10 e-mail messages over a four-week period. While that frequency may seem over the top, each e-mail was exciting and personalized, contained great value, and engaged me in a dialogue.
Mission accomplished. W did it right. As a result, I can't wait to stay there again.
It really isn't all that difficult to build this type of relationship with customers via e-mail. Someone at the W must be focused on leveraging data and communicating with customers in a much more compelling way. I've stayed in hotels all my professional life, but prior to this Westwood experience, no one treated me this way.
Zoots: Follow-Up Master
Then there's my dry cleaner, Zoots.
About two weeks ago, the Zoots clerk requested my e-mail address. Why? Zoots wants to send reminder messages when my dry cleaning is done. These guys actually follow up! Now after dropping off my dry cleaning, I get e-mail alerts with each item in my order, the order price, and the day it will be ready. If I don't pick up the cleaning, I get regular daily reminders. Pretty simple right?
Like the W Hotel, Zoots gets it.
With all of the craziness going on in my house these days, the Zoots reminder is another example of a marketer who's thinking like her customers and providing e-communications that are truly relevant and useful.
I really hope the e-mail marketing professionals at Zoots and the W Hotel are regular ClickZ readers. All of us who write these columns would love to feel as though what we're writing is taking hold in the marketplace.
We can dream, can't we?
Until next time...be relevant!
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Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Long recognized as one of the direct response industry's premier innovators and a pioneer in e-mail communications, Al DiGuido brings over 20 years of marketing, sales, management, and operations expertise to his role as CEO of full-service digital marketing company Zeta Interactive. Formerly Epsilon Interactive's CEO, DiGuido also served as CEO of Bigfoot Interactive, CEO of Expression Engines, EVP at Ziff Davis, and publisher of Computer Shopper, where he launched ComputerShopper.com, a groundbreaking direct-to-consumer e-commerce engine. Prior to Ziff Davis, he was VP/advertising director for Sports Inc. DiGuido also serves on the Direct Marketing Association's Ethics Policy Committee.
March 19, 2014