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A Love Letter to Groupon

  |  December 13, 2010   |  Comments

So what makes a marketer swoon over the mention of this group buying service powered by e-mail? Here are five things.

Dear Groupon,

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. I love that every message you send has an engaging tone and a personality.

Did you secretly find and read my Match.com profile? In it I said I was all about the witty banter, and you seem to have my number. You make the most mundane topics fun!

Like when you said: "If comic books have taught us anything, it's that getting zapped with mysterious rays always gives you crime-fighting abilities – in this case, superhuman smoothness." You were talking about laser hair removal and I was laughing out loud!

Or the time you invited me to that sushi restaurant with the lines: "Many things in life, such as lava, post-breakup emotions and experimental avant-garde children's theater, cannot be enjoyed in their rawest form. Savor a rare taste of raw goodness…" I love sashimi, but even if I didn't, how could I resist?

You even make running errands fun. Remember when you were encouraging me to try that new dry cleaners and you said: "Some things are just better when they're clean, such as clothes, airport bathrooms and comedy routines performed for audiences of senior citizens and their socially sheltered grandchildren. Enjoy a dirt-free existence…" Every conversation we have is like talking to the headliner at a comedy club.

I always enjoy reading your e-mail messages – in fact, I go to my inbox looking for them each morning. They bring an often-needed smile to my day, which is a benefit I get whether or not I take you up on your offers.

2. I love that you're focused on making sure that the e-mail messages you send me are relevant.

Every relationship involves getting to know the other person over time. It began easily enough; you asked for my Zip code and then used that information to woo me. Even though I live in the metropolitan area they are now calling the "DMV" for District of Columbia-Maryland-Virginia, you seem to know that I rarely venture out of the city. Rather than trying to change me, you go with it by inviting me to places which I can easily get to by walking or taking the metro.

But it didn't end there. As we got to know each other better, you asked me more about my interests. Sporting events? I'm always game. Massages? It's hard to rub me the wrong way. Pet services? Not since my cat passed away over a year ago. And not only did you ask, you listen and act accordingly by tailoring your invitations to what's relevant to me.

I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling that you watch my behavior too, to try to learn even more about my likes and dislikes. That's the ultimate compliment. By watching what I click on you're taking the initiative to learn more about me, without me having to make any special effort.

3. I love that you're reliable – I can count on having an e-mail from you to read each morning when I wake up.

You never make me wait or wonder where you are, unlike men I've dated. I can count on having an e-mail from you to enjoy with my morning diet coke (I rarely drink coffee, but you probably know that about me). You're a pleasure to wake up to. Witty, engaging banter – it's obvious that you're a morning person. I can't imagine a better way to start each day.

4. I love that you're using creative ways to build your e-mail list – and your brand identity.

Your banner ads are focused on "what's in it for me" – who wouldn't want to get great deals on things close to home. The benefit is clear.

You obviously know the value of an e-mail address and you don't shy away from spending money to get new people on your list. This is rare, but you're proving that it can work if you are smart about it. Which you are – that's another reason I love you, you are so smart!

Like your Live Off Groupon initiative. How many people think Josh, your current Groupawn, is crazy? How many people, like me, think this idea was brilliant? An entire year of living on nothing but Groupons – relying on them for food, shelter, clothing, entertainment – talk about practicing what you preach! How much free press did the company get as a result of this? What kind of a boost in list growth did you get – and are you still getting – from Josh's adventures, blog posts, and personal appearances?


Or your latest venture – Grouspawn? Offering a free college scholarship to any child that is parented by a couple that used a Groupon on their first date is – may I say it again – brilliant! When I first learned of it, I thought it must be a joke – not! How many people have signed up for the Date Assistant to find a potential partner? I know what I'm doing as soon as I finish writing this article.


5. But most of all, I love that you have almost single-handedly proven that e-mail is still an effective marketing channel.

There's a nasty rumor going around, reported in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, that e-mail is dead. You have almost single-handedly dispelled this misinformation and proven the channel's relevance.

It's not just me – your one-day half price deal on clothing at the Gap was the talk of the town. I believe you may be one of the companies that is meeting – or exceeding – the Direct Marketing Association's 2010 projection that e-mail marketing will return more than $40 in revenue for each dollar spent.

And then there are all the copycat organizations that have sprung up. I love that others continue to vie for the special place you have in my inbox – but even more I love that no one has yet come close to winning my heart. To quote that old James Bond theme song sung by Carly Simon:

"Nobody does it better
Makes me feel sad for the rest
Nobody does it half as good as you
Baby, you're the best."


Jeanne is off today. This column was originally published Oct. 18, 2010 on ClickZ.


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Jeanne Jennings

Jeanne Jennings is a 20 year veteran of the online/email marketing industry, having started her career with CompuServe in the late 1980s. As Vice President of Global Strategic Services for Alchemy Worx, Jennings helps organizations become more effective and more profitable online. Previously Jennings ran her own email marketing consultancy with a focus on strategy; clients included AARP, Hasbro, Scholastic, Verizon and Weight Watchers International. Want to learn more? Check out her blog.

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