In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, I, like most men, sit back and wait for a good deal on flowers to send to the love of my life. Let’s face it: gift-giving for this holiday can get pretty expensive. According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend $131 on average during the holiday in 2013, with another $4.4 billion spent on jewelry alone. Always happy to save a few bucks, I was excited when a low-priced, email-only deal on roses from ProFlowers arrived in my inbox.
Shortly after my purchase, I began receiving several personalized emails from ProFlowers. As an email marketer, it is pleasing to receive a series of post-purchase emails that acknowledge me as a customer and specifically thanks me for my Valentine’s Day purchase. However, ProFlowers sent a rather awkwardly-phrased email shortly after my purchase:
So let me get this straight: ProFlowers expects me to “spoil the rest of my valentines”? How many valentines does the company think I have? Is ProFlowers trying to insinuate that men are inherently promiscuous and, therefore, have multiple gifts to purchase for others on valentines? The way this email reads, ProFlowers acknowledges that I made a purchase for my significant other, while implying I have multiple significant others that also deserve their own set of roses for Valentine’s Day. At best, the email's wording was chosen poorly. At its worst, the email is insensitive to customers in decidedly monogamous relationships.
ProFlowers must have sensed my frustration as the very next day I received the following email the company, this time with their wording properly corrected:
The opening paragraph in this email was perfect! Still acknowledging that I made a Valentine’s Day purchase, ProFlowers clearly reminds me of the other important people in my life I may want to send roses to. No veiled insult here. Just a personalized, email-only offer encouraging me to think of friends, family, and my other loved ones that could use a dozen roses.
When done right, segmentation, targeting, and personalization can drive measurable results for email marketers. Senders should ensure their content is timely, relevant, and unambiguous to its customers. Leveraging customer data and purchase behavior to send personalized emails is truly commendable and can lead to higher levels of engagement. For Valentine’s Day, don’t send your customers mixed signals. Make sure the love is clearly delivered without any confusion.
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