We have probably all seen the colourful graphs that connect email fatigue with low engagement. So what are the weapons in our arsenal to combat this painful problem? Further segmentation? Reduced frequency? Subject line change? More special offer to non-openers? Or is it about time to think outside the box and look for something “external”? That is why I have my eyes on the recent royal baby buzz battle.
Among all brands who jumped on the recent royal baby bandwagon, Mothercare, Argos, and Paddy Power are early adopters of pushing out above-the-line campaigns while the Duchess was still in labour, but M&S has come up trumps with its crafted email campaign as soon as the news of the newborn broke. The British retailer cleverly leveraged the news to sell their babywear and promote gift and party ideas.
This is not a surprising effort from M&S, considering the fact it was chosen by UK consumers as one of the most favourable email marketers, along with Tesco and Amazon. I like brands like M&S who seize every possible opportunity to resonate with its audience when planning email campaigns.
Curiously, not many (or at least not as many as I would expect) email marketers appear to be capitalising on the royal birth, although there has been at least nine months’ lead time for preparation. The relative silence in the email space contrasts sharply with the social media frenzy, with brands like Oreo have launched their timely royal baby content campaign all over Twitter and Facebook.
While many business understands the importance of sending emails based on customer preference and online behaviour, few has realised the untapped potential of newsjacking ability an email campaign can have. I think one possible reason is that many companies are still in a campaign mindset. To set up news-triggered email does require complex scenario treatment and database interactions. But many email marketing automation tools has the built-in features that can take the strain, with platforms like Neolane that provides a visual interface (i.e. workflow) for designing and executing internal processes for virtually any types of campaigns. All it takes is a prophetic vision and thoughtful planning ahead of time.
One can never underestimate the power of piggybacking on the growing wave of excitement of a breaking news. Pretty much like keywords to SEO, eyes are glued to those “sensitive” words, such as royal baby, and the consequent action (i.e. click) will naturally take place. One sweet side effect is that by hitchhiking the popularity, the email content is more likely to be tweeted or referenced to in the social media space.
It is likely that retailers of all kinds will look forward to scooping up further revenues in souvenir sales, so it remains to be seen whether more of them will turn to email marketing and hijack any news to their own advantage, in particular when it comes to celebrate Prince George’s birthday next July.