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We All Get Old Eventually

  |  August 17, 2010   |  Comments

Three ways to combat e-mail offer fatigue, and help your bottom line as you head into the holiday retail season.

I've been working at my company for two and a half years. During that time, I've had a number of learnings that shape my future thinking. Many times these learnings aren't new items, as much as they are reminders of things I should remember to do. Usually, after one of these learnings hits me, I walk away thinking about it for awhile. Today, I thought I would share two of these with you.

  • The first happened when I was showcasing our free iPad app and gushing about how good the high def images of professionally designed magazine pages looked on it. I was showing one of my favorite magazines on the iPad, Us Weekly, and I looked down and saw a beautiful photo of Cameron Diaz and…her crow's feet. "Yes!" I thought, celebrities my age do actually look like they're aging. I was so happy that, for one second, an iconic beauty was caught on camera looking like a real human.

  • This lead to my second realization. Oddly, it too is about aging. It was the day I realized that, "Yes Virginia, your e-mail offers will get fatigued" no matter how well you treat them. After watching one of the best performing campaigns start to show signs of lower and lower results, even though it was being sent to a new batch of readers.

Who knew? I mean, no one believes that as things age they aren't working quite as well as they did when they were younger. There's nothing you can do to stop it, but knowing about it enables you to be ready with a backup plan.

E-mail offer fatigue is a real occurrence. It happens, no matter how well you take care of your lists or how strong your brand is. I'm not speaking about list fatigue, I'm speaking about offer fatigue. The times where your welcome e-mail, your confirmation e-mail, or even your on boarding e-mails just start underperforming. In some cases, you need a creative lift. In others, you need a revision of your offer. And in some cases still, you need to redefine the strategy.

How do you avoid e-mail offer fatigue? Here are three ways:

  • Refresh your creative on your "notification e-mails" (e.g., your welcome and confirmation series) quarterly. Even though it's a new audience, trends for reading e-mail are changing fast as new devices come out, and you'll be surprised at the minor enhancements this will make.
  • Pull your website's top 10 search terms, and search.twitter.com's last day of entries about your brand and update all of your e-mail copy with phrases real people (not your marketing team) use to discuss your brand and offers. This can drive up to a 10 percent increase in results.
  • Test a "holiday" e-mail to people who have been on your list for over a year. By "holiday," I mean anniversary, birthday, or "thanks for your last purchase" e-mail. Sometimes people call this an unanticipated delight e-mail. This will spice things up.

These three ways can often wake up a consumer who has become tired or bored of the same e-mails from you. Or, it can help drive improved results from a loyal shopper.

In any event, this will help the bottom line, especially as we head into the holiday retail season. After all, you're only as old as you feel, and I'm not about to let my e-mails feel old and slow. Are you?


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Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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