Normally Easter weekend is full of adverts from garden centres and DIY stores driving us to spend during our bank holidays. The current cold weather reduced this activity somewhat which is unfortunate on many levels and not just for the economy.
Seasonal marketing campaigns are a tradition but one that is being jumped upon by more and more brands trying to create a tenuous link to help them drum up some sales. You expect, for example, to see adverts for cards and flowers on mothers day. One global brand however managed to give us a great example of possible a stretch to far last mothers day.
On February 28th an email dropped into my personal mailbox from Apple that made me actually laugh out loud. As always with Apple email marketing campaigns it was a beautiful piece of creative. Nice clean design with strong imagery and lots of white space, well written with clear call to action points within the email. So all in all, a great example of how a good email campaign can look.
Unfortunately the heading of this email was “Make Mum’s day. Every day” with the subject line “Surprise Mum with a new iPad.” Now I don’t know about you but flowers and a card are usually in order for Mothers day and yes I do stretch to chocolates but an iPad, for mother’s day, really? The contents of the email did not stop there though. The different sections contained the headings “iPad with Retina display. Wait until Mum sees it.” “iPad mini. A big thank you for Mum” and “AppleTV. Now showing…whatever mum wants”. I suppose if you are going to use a tenuous link to sell your products don’t go half hearted. As the Apple mailing list is rather large due to the popularity of its products this email was seen by many. So much so that the humorous comments it created on social media even got it trending on Twitter.
The bottom line is of course that email marketing is still one of the most cost effective marketing tools available to businesses today and when done well should be an absolute staple of a companies marketing mix. If that email from Apple converted into sales from even a tiny percentage of the Apple registered users it was sent to it would have paid for itself thousands of time over and been a success.
So if that’s the case does it really matter that for most people the email was one that created bemusement at the sales message than action? The answer is probably not, especially if you are the marketing or sales teams of Apple. For me though Apple is a company that hold a lot of data about its users and is a pioneer of the next big thing “Big Data”. In this case I just think they could use that understanding to move away from big broad brush campaigns to tighter campaigns that use proper segmentation and list management to send more personalised relevant messages to users. That combined with their best practice design and content they would create much higher engagement and probably better sales with less embarrassing social backlash. In the meantime I wait to see what they will link to Easter with great anticipation.
Tim Youngman is director of marketing for Archant follow him on Twitter @timyoungman