Miles Kimball's Doreen Carstens Discusses the '12 Days of Christmas' E-mail Campaign
For Oshkosh, Wis.-based catalog retailer Miles Kimball, a partridge in a pear tree turned out to be a bird in the hand. The purveyor of specialty goods—everything from "smidgen measuring spoons" to ensembles for those ubiquitous front yard cement geese—went out on a limb this holiday season and inundated its e-mail subscribers with a dozen sale messages in as many days.
Customers who viewed their inboxes on Dec. 18, for instance, saw the subject line "On the Seventh Day of Christmas ... The More You Buy, the More You Save!" After prospects opened the e-mail, they saw an offer message featuring "swimmer geese," then "six geese a-laying" sporting Santa outfits and so on, through to the partridge in a pear tree Christmas ornament. Miles Kimball added to the list each day, resulting in an impressively long 12th e-mail.
The "12 Days of Christmas" campaign caused customers to flock to the Web checkout, says Doreen Carstens, Miles Kimball's vice president of brand management. She reports that the holiday campaign resulted in revenue flowing in just swimmingly, even as many retailers still were struggling to stay above water.
Target Marketing: What spurred the campaign, and who were you hoping to reach?
Doreen Carstens: Our original thought was that, as it approached closer to the actual Christmas holiday, we wanted to do something that was not as traditional as our customer would expect from us. In the past, we [sent] a lot of e-mails where it was an immediate call to action ... But we felt, as we approached closer to Christmas, we wanted to do something extra special. And as the team was brainstorming, someone mentioned, "Hey, what about the 12 Days of Christmas?" And we could make it really unique because we could tie it into our product, which is something that I felt was very compelling.