Emarketing, Business and the Future

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Time to compose another marketing email to my eternally ungrateful recipient list. Here I am slaving over a hot computer to give them well crafted, entertaining and doubtless highly relevant information and do they read it? Do they hell. Occasionally I throw in a little subversive bit at the end just to test the audience. To be fair sometimes it is spotted, so they are not all ungrateful. If you are one of those who do read my emails, then thank you. From the bottom of my heart. It is nice to be appreciated.

Which leads to the interesting question of whether email marketing actually works. Every time I have bought a mailing list it has been miserable.

Some time back when we looked at doing a catalogue for Splendour (online lingerie company – Mercedes quality at Ford prices) my business partner and I went to speak to various well-known catalogue companies. The message was that it is a three year payback. You get tiny results from any mailing list. When you finally find a list that works and try and roll it out, you discover that the bigger list doesn’t work nearly as well, ie there is no Holy Grail, it is just an endless slog of finding new untapped lists and tweaking the offers to make them ever more slightly attractive to boost returns from 1.8% (disaster) to 2.1% (nirvana). A pretty miserable life really.

Online of course promises to be different and there are some great ideas. Unfortunately they too turn out to be a little less effective than promised. Perhaps we are already at e-marketing saturation ? As jaded by emails as we are by TV ads. Incidentally why are TV ad breaks getting so long ? The advantage of watching British TV over American was that although you got the programs a year later you only got a 3 minute break every half hour. Now it is almost as bad and I have given up watching any program all the way through adopting a menu of channel surfing and endless repeats of Friends.

I have queried my agency on the lack of e-marketing nirvana-esque solutions. Their view is that I am selling the wrong products far too expensively. And therefore that unless we sell a range of totally unique and brilliantly original products at prices lower than findable anywhere else in the civilized world we are doomed to fail. This of course would be nice, but seems a little difficult to achieve. We are of course selling a fantastic range of brilliant products at very reasonable prices, but for them to be totally original would be a bit hard. But more than that I think we are selling a service. Yes, you could buy some items cheaper – you always can. But if you always buy from Tesco that is all you will get and you will have to write your own birthday cards in future. Plus buy from the evil supermarket chain.

Wicked Uncle is not a vulgar e-tailer, Wicked Uncle is a life style solution company. Doesn’t that sound so much more Web 2.0 ? Ok we may not actually be Web 2.0 because we do the work rather than asking you to do it, but we are very 21st Century. One day the Wicked Uncle brand will break out from its humble origins. We will be the Virgin of the late noughties and early teens.

One day there will be the Wicked Uncle brand of children’s water fight parties, dangerous adventure holidays, male cosmetics, boutique hotels, sophisticated clothing for the urbane male, 20 year old whisky, adult oriented ice cream, inter stellar travel, home entertainment systems, lapdancing clubs.

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