09 Jun Putting the Meat Back Into Spam
SPAM, currently derided as “Specially Processed Alternative Meat”, was first introduced by Hormel in 1937. It played a key role in feeding allied forces during WWII, described by Margaret Thatcher as a “Wartime Delicacy” and by Kruschev as key to feeding Soviet forces. Since WWII, Spam has lost a lot of its luster. No longer the savior of the allied forces, spam now most often refers to unwanted emails that fill your inbox. Most attribute the association of spam with email to Monty Python’s Spam skit, in which Spam fills the menu and leads one of the actors to shout, “But I don’t like Spam!”
In today’s terms, email spam is unwanted because it lacks any “nutritional” value to the reader – it is simply inexpensive filler that only on a rare occasion provides any content of interest to the recipient. In other words, today’s spam lacks “meat”.
Email campaigns can often be made more effective by focusing on relevance and timeliness. An email about snow tires might be relevant in January, but not in April. Note that relevance and timeliness are independent of frequency! For example, I don’t mind getting a daily newsletter, such as @CBInsights, or a weekly newsletter like @Fridayforward because, more often than not, each provides at least a nugget of useful information.
Compare that to an example of spam I get. Every three months or so I visit an office supply company to get some specialty printing done. Each visit usually sparks a string of daily emails offering me all sorts of supplies I don’t need. This fails both the relevance test – I’m not interested in an office chair, and haven’t given any reason to suspect I might want one – as well as the timeliness test – I’m likely not going to be back in the store for 3 months. An improvement would be an email (or three) about 10 weeks after my last visit, announcing “Hey, here’s a coupon good this month for 10% off your next print job”.
The key to “putting meat back into spam” – sending content with greater relevance and timeliness – is customer data: knowing what they bought and when they bought it. Consider these examples: a customer who bought a lawnmower in May may need an edge trimmer at the same time, and perhaps a leaf-blower in the fall; when a customer buys an infant car seat, a juvenile-products company could project out subsequent purchases with near certainty for the next 6 years; if I ordered roses for our last anniversary, the florist could send me an email saying “Hey, you bought roses last year for your anniversary, would you like the same this year?”
Knowing what your customer bought and when they bought it not only helps to add meat to your spam, it gives you an incredible competitive advantage. Rather than tilting the playing field in your favor, you can preemptively keep your customers from even getting on the field.
RacerX was founded to help consumer durable companies learn exactly who bought their product, what they bought, and when they bought it. To learn how this could help your company, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org