Showing posts with label expiration date. Show all posts
Showing posts with label expiration date. Show all posts

1/31/2021

Amazon Music Unlimited: Improving the Pitch

 This letter from Amazon Music Unlimited merits a Fail for Creative for a combination of mistakes and missed improvement opportunities. 


Some positive elements of the solo letter package:
  • The letter is addressed to an Amazon Prime customer in a closed-face envelope with simple Amazon branding. This approach ensures a high open rate because Amazon and the customer have an ongoing business relationship, meaning the Prime customer will open the letter to see what it is about.
  • The front of the letter is easily scannable. The Johnson Box clearly communicates that the Prime customer would benefit from 3 months of free … something.
  • The sparse use of copy and generous use of white space help call out the benefits of Amazon Music Unlimited.
  • The letter opens with a personal salutation, addressed to the Amazon Prime customer.
  • The Call toAction on the front of the letter is easy to find.
Amazon Music Unlimited Offer Letter
Front of Letter
using Amazon Music Letterhead



However, there are opportunities to improve on this approach.

The letterhead is from “Amazon Music,” which is already free with Amazon Prime. The Johnson Box could communicate that the offer is for 3 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for free.

The opening sentence is not grammatically correct. It opens with “As a valued Amazon Prime member, we have a special offer for you:” This is an incorrect use of a dangling modifier. The opening phrase “as a valued Amazon Prime member” describes “you,” the customer -- not “we,” the company. The independent clause that begins with “we” does not match the opening phrase, which lacks a subject. While typical customers reading the letter might not remember grammar rules taught in high school, they might subconsciously notice that the sentence feels clunky, which detracts attention from the message. Keeping the message intact, a better opening would be:

“As a valued Amazon Prime member, you are eligible for a special offer:”
or, perhaps,
“As a valued Amazon Prime member, you can enjoy this special offer:” 

The complete value proposition of the low price is hidden in the Disclosure on the back. I would be forthright and mention upfront that the cost is under $8 a month after the third month.

The letter mentions the feature of being “ad free” a couple times (with varying use of hyphens). This could be brought up a level by messaging the benefit, i.e. “Listen to music non-stop, without interruptions.”

While the letter opens with a personal salutation, the closing is from “Amazon Music Team.” A truly sincere closing would be from Bob Bowen, Worldwide Head of Music, or even Jeff Bezos.

The letter includes supporting messages on the back. The front of the letter could use a message referring to the back of the letter to learn more.

Amazon Music Unlimited Marketing Letter
Back of letter

On the back of the letter, the Call to Action appears twice; however, it is easily lost. In one location, it is almost as small as the Disclosure copy. It could be larger and positioned below the Disclosure without being distracting.

The front of the letter mentions “Limited time only.” It fails to mention how limited the offer is. The offer expiration date is buried in the Disclosure on the back. The problem with this approach is two-fold:

  1. The implied need for immediate action is lost, because the customer doesn’t know by when to take action. In other words, it’s easy for the customer to say, “I’ll take care of this later,” then forget about it.

  2. If the offer truly expires on the offer expiration date, and the customer attempts to sign up after the offer expires, the customer will be unhappy from the experience of missing out on the promotion. That dissatisfied customer would view Amazon less positively -- perhaps taking out their frustration by shopping less or even cancelling their Prime membership.

Simple Envelope


Below is a rewrite of the front of the letter, with a bit more focus on product benefits. If Amazon likes the rewrite, I am willing to accept a personally signed thank-you letter.

Dear <Customer Name>,

Would you like to enjoy access to millions of songs, anytime, without interruption? Then here is an offer for Amazon Prime members like you: 3 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for FREE.

Sign up today to get unlimited access to more than 70 million songs. Listen ad-free from your home or mobile phone anytime with offline listening and unlimited skips. With so many new releases and thousands of playlists and stations available, we are sure to have your favorite tunes ready for your delight. In fact, with Amazon Music Unlimited, you can even control your music hands-free with Alexa, included in the Amazon Music mobile app and Amazon Echo devices.

BENEFITS OF AMAZON MUSIC UNLIMITED

Ö        Unlimited anytime access to more than 70 million tunes

Ö        Listen to music non-stop, without interruptions

Ö        Enjoy music anywhere, online or offline

Ö        Skip as much as you like 

Ö        Hands-free listening with Alexa

I’m so sure you’ll like Amazon Music Unlimited, I’m offering it to you for FREE for 3 months. After that, your subscription will renew for only $7.99 a month. You can cancel anytime.

This is a limited time offer, so visit amazon.com/trynow to sign up today.

Sincerely, 

[signature]

Bob Bowen

Worldwide Head of Music

P.S. This offer is good only through <expiration date>, so be sure to review the information on the back of this letter and visit amazon.com/trynow to sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited today.

Lessons:
  1. Use correct grammar.
  2. Your benefits sell your product, so communicate them.
  3. Ensure that your Call to Action is easy to find.
  4. If your offer has an expiration date, don’t bury it.
  5. A personalized letter should be personally signed.
  6. When your brand covers multiple products in a customer relationship, an experience with one product can impact the entire relationship.
  7. Don’t just ignore the back of the letter -- you can both sides of a page to make your sale.

12/15/2020

FTD Flowers: A Mistake and a Quickly Wilting Apology

In a single day last week, I received five emails from FTD Flowers, each with a different subject line:

  1. Psst... Someone Special's Birthday is 5 Days Away
  2. Share The Love ❤️ An Important Anniversary Is In 7 Days!
  3. 🌹🌹🌹 3 More Days To Order Anniversary Flowers! 🌹🌹🌹
  4. Someone Special's Birthday is TOMORROW!
  5. Someone Special's Birthday is 7 Days Away!

Here is an example of one of those five emails.

FTD Anniversary Coming Email
1 of 5 emails I received on 12/9/20

That evening, when I read the first one, I was confused. Whose birthday was in 5 days? According to my Google calendar, the only person I could find with a birthday that day was a former business colleague. We were friends, but not close enough that I'd send him flowers. I checked my FTD purchase history and found nothing for this timeframe. Hmm, I thought -- maybe I need to dig up my old personal calendar I last used during the Clinton administration. 

The next email reminded me of an important anniversary in seven days. It wasn't between my wife and me -- we had a June wedding. It wasn't my parents' or my siblings'. I was confused.

By time I read the third email, I realized something was off with FTD. So, I ignored the forth and fith emails. Ah, well, I thought, we all make mistakes. I categorized this as a Fail for Timing and figured that FTD incorrectly sent those emails.

The next day, I received an email from FTD with a subject line of "Ooops! Hit Send WAY Too Soon 😬". I correctly guessed that FTD had realized their mistake.  

FTD apology email
Apology Email Sent 12/10/20
25% Discount Expired 12/11/20

FTD had quickly recognized its issue, admitted the error, and offered an explanation and an apology. This is a thoughtful approach, similar to what Amazon did several years ago when it sent out a BCS Championship winner merchandise email early

But FTD went a step further ... sort of. The apology email on December 10 included an offer of 25% off my next purchase "to show our appreciation for your understanding." I state, "sort of" because, buried in the email's disclosure, was information stating that the 25% discount would expire just before midnight on December 11 -- and that was the next day.

*Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. CT on 12/11/2020 or while supplies last. Quantities may be limited. All discounts shown. Discounts are not applicable on: (i) product customizations including vases or product add-ons, (ii) FTD Membership fees, (iii) gift card purchases, (iv) service, delivery or shipping fees and applicable taxes, (v) special collections including Nambé, Baccarat or other special collections designed by FTD, and (vi) all "Gifts"under $24.99 or products under $19.99. Discounts cannot be combined. Offers may be subject to change without notice. See www.ftd.com for additional details.

The apology email merits Fails for both Offer and Creative. The Fail for Offer is because the discount window less than 38 hours after the apology email was sent. That's barely enough time for a customer to react to the email and make a purchase. The Fail for Creative is because a customer has to read the fine print to realize this, thus the apology appears to be disingenuous. 

When an offer with a short response window does not message the offer expiration date in the body of the communication, the seller risks customer dissatisfaction -- the type that motivates a customer to shop elsewhere. Or, to put it bluntly, if you pee on a customer's leg and tell them it's raining, that customer will not buy an umbrella from you.

Lessons:

  1. If you make a mistake, own up to the error.
  2. When making amends for a mistake, offer a genuine goodwill gesture.
  3. If your offer expires quickly, you should communicate that fact in the body of a communication, not bury it in a disclosure.

10/25/2020

Caviar: What Is It?

Two postcards arrived within a day of each other. One includes elements that can make direct mail successful; the other Fails in multiple ways.

freshdirect new customer offer

freshdirect new customer offer

This postcard from freshdirect reflects smart use of these elements, specifically:

  • Targeting: No one at the targeted home has purchased from freshdirect. The targeted home is in a freshdirect delivery area and in a zip code where overall use of grocery delivery has increased.

  • Offer: There is a new customer incentive of $25 off the new customer's first purchase, -- a good reason to to give freshdirect a try. Plus, the offer is valid for about three weeks from the postcard's in-home date, motivating that customer to take action right away.

  • Creative: The 5 1/2" x 10 1/2" postcard clearly communicates its sales proposition both visually and in prose. One side of the postcard succinctly communicates the service provided, and even includes a tag line to reinforce the sales proposition. The address side includes the call to action and supporting benefits messages. The incentive is unambiguous -- at a glance, the reader knows what it is, the value, when to use it, and how to take advantage of it

  • Timing: Mid-October is likely the last time of year to mail and avoid the oncoming clutter associated with holiday catalogs and other gift-related mailings.

  • Execution: The postcard was printed with spot varnish to protect the pictures from appearing scuffed.

  • Tracking: The new customer incentive includes a promo code for the customer to use. This promo code facilitates the customer discount, but it also allows freshdirect to track the customer's path to becoming a customer. This means freshdirect can reasonably assume it was the postcard that motivated customer action.

Well done, freshdirect!

On The Other Hand ... 
The below 6" x 11" postcard from caviar is physically larger than the one from freshdirect, yet it communicates much less. From looking at the postcard, can you answer the question: What is caviar? 

caviar new customer offer 10/2020

caviar new customer offer 10/2020


OK, its a food delivery service -- but what kind of food delivery? Does it deliver meals and groceries like freshdirect, in-home food kits like Blue Apron, or perhaps single-person prepared meals like freshly? From the pictures of the kale salad and what I now think may be a poke bowl, I couldn't tell, but a google search revealed that caviar is a delivery service specializing in meals from high-end restaurants. So, I guess it's more like seamless.

According to their snippet on a Google search caviar offers, "Delivery & takeout from the best local restaurants. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and more, delivered safely to your door."  There you go: a brief, succinct explanation -- one that should have been included on the postcard. The snippet also mentions, "Now offering pickup & no-contact delivery.That is an important supporting message during this pandemic that should also appear on the postcard. The lack of a sales proposition and supporting messages is a Fail for Creative. The postcard has plenty of white space, so why not use it?

Also, it takes a pair of reading glasses to review the disclosure noting that this offer is good through December 7, approximately eight weeks after the postcard arrived. That response window is too long to encourage what is typically an impulse decision: namely, what to have for dinner tonight. This wide response window merits a Fail for Offer.


caviar postcard disclosure text 10/2020
The caviar introductory offer is not valid for DoorDash customers.
It expires eight weeks after arriving in home

That fine print also leads to meriting a Fail for Targeting. The recipient is a regular DoorDash customer, making that person ineligible for the discount. 

wondered why a meal delivery service would make customers of a different meal delivery service ineligible for a discount. In my research, I learned that DoorDash had bought and integrated caviar into the DoorDash network several months ago. Here in New York City, the integration did not go well

For the postcard recipient's mailing address, Caviar offers delivery from only 17 restaurants. That’s a small number compared to DoorDash’s 398 restaurants. (Furthermore, all 17 of Caviar's restaurants were inclusive to those available through DoorDash.) This lack of compelling selection might merit another Fail for Targeting.

There is no reason to expend the cost of sending mail that does not communicate a sales proposition with an invalid, non-urgent discount offer to a home that has limited purchase opportunities. If DoorDash continues to waste marketing dollars like this, caviar's days are numbered. 


Lessons:
  1. When soliciting new customers, communicate a compelling sales proposition.
  2. A response window should be long enough to give a customer time to respond, but not so long that immediacy is discouraged.
  3. Mail your offer only to customers who might be eligible to take advantage of the offer.