During the past two weeks, I looked through his "subjectivity scanner", trying to calculate the percentage of e-mail subject lines that focus on price/discounts/sales/free-shipping/promotions. Here's what I found:
- 61% of the e-mail marketing messages focused on price, discounts, sale, free shipping, bogos, or promotions.
- 39% focused on merchandise, disproportionately skewed to L.L. Bean, Lands' End, and Williams Sonoma.
E-mail marketing is fundamentally broken. We are poisoning our customer files, teaching customers to never pay full price anywhere. Why should a customer pay full price from the catalog when they can wait for the perfect promotion from an e-mail campaign?
Merchants should be taking us to the woodshed for a good 'ole fashioned paddlin'. We're poisoning their products with our endless quest for inflated open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Heck, why don't we simply offer the merchandise for free???!!!! That would drive the metrics in the right direction, wouldn't it?
Until we, as an industry, stop trying to get an easy buck all in the name of best practices and inflated metrics, we won't be viewed by peers or customers as offering a respected marketing channel.