The Christmas Marketing That Worked on Me, and Why
It was the weekend before Christmas, and all through the house, not a wallet had opened, we hadn't even gone out. ...
So, some direct marketing shopping was in order, but from who?
Here are a couple pieces of marketing that worked on me this holiday season, and one bit of retargeting that caught the attention of my wife.
I wasn't planning on ordering anything from ThinkGeek this year, but I had some unfilled gift boxes, and this email came.
Why it worked: There's a Harry Potter fan on my list, and that person happens to have been looking for a comforter. So X-mas marked the spot in the top-right corner with the Harry Potter House Comforter. In addition, the percent-off offers across the top are aggressive and hooked me in. In fact, I added a second gift for the same person just to get to the next discount level.
A Christmas Faux Pas: ThinkGeek did a good job with everything here, and got my gift in the mail the day after I ordered it (a Sunday, no less). However, they also made a little bit of a rookie mistake: The day after I ordered it, I got an email with the quilt on sale for about 20 percent less.
I'm not too upset over it, since it's Christmas and the buying experience has been very good so far. But there was a moment there where I felt like a rube. I'm not sure what the best way is to make sure you don't mail new deals to recent buyers, but as the buyer here, I feel like that's a good way to undermine your good first impression.
I don't only know geeks. I also know some ramblers. I've got family in a few states across the U.S. who we send gifts to.
For a few years now I've been sending them Harry & David gift towers, which have been great. (Who doesn't love soft, juicy pears?) But it was getting lame that I kept sending more or less the same thing over and over. So I was on the lookout for a fresh supplier of their holiday goodies.
Bam! This shows up in my mailbox:
Why it worked: Just look at that cover photography! That looks delicious (and I apologize if my own photo lighting loses some of that effect). Also, I've heard of Fairytale Brownies, I feel like they have a good reputation, and I've wanted to try them myself.
As you saw in the ThinkGeek order, I like a deal. And unfortunately, I feel like the catalog is missing a strong incentive to buy. (I didn't qualify for the free shipping, which is set at a goofy point just above their best gifts and calculated individually by address — frankly, that almost blew the sale when I saw the shipping prices.)
I really bought this on how different it was from what I'd been sending and how tasty the goods looked. Also, their timing was perfect. This came on the Friday of the weekend before Christmas, and I was placing orders Saturday morning to get to everyone in time. It's a great example of why you want to make sure your catalogs are in-home in key buying windows. If I got this today, I probably would've already ordered from somewhere else.
So while I like a deal, Fairytale's execution and novelty overcame a clumsy offer.
Naughty or Nice? PBS and Criteo
Recently, my wife started watching Anne of Green Gables reruns on PBS. She is not on the regular PBS mailing list, but she was poking around the site to find the show's air times.
The next day she got this:
In case you can't read it, here's the message at the end of the email:
What'd she think of this retargeting?
- How'd they get my email?
- That IS what I've been looking at. (Although not something she was interested in purchasing.)
- I guess it feels a little intrusive.
It's a pretty cool retargeting tactic, just be gentle and try to make sure your offer justifies the intrusion.
Christmas Marketing Gift Wrapped
So that's the kind of marketing that got through to me this season. When I look at it together, two factors were at play: relevancy and deals.
In other words, the marketers who got my business made the right offers, in the right places, at the right times.
When it comes to marketing tactics, that classic never goes out of style.