Are Pop Culture References Risky Or Safe in Email Marketing?

GoDaddy analyzed email data sent from its platform and revealed that emails containing the phrase "Galentine’s Day" in the subject line had an average open rate of 40%. This is higher than industry averages, which hover between 20% and 25%, according to MailChimp’s email marketing benchmark report updated on Feb. 1.

Galentine’s Day, the sisterhood-themed pop culture holiday celebrating female friendships held annually on Feb. 13, by Leslie Knope, the main character on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation.

Would it be savvy for marketers to tap into this pop culture holiday or a risky bet, considering that not everyone on your subscriber list may understand the reference?

“People are more attuned to pop culture references than almost anything else,” says Steven Aldrich, chief product officer at GoDaddy and head of GoDaddy Email Marketing. “But you can’t write about Beyonce and the Super Bowl unless you can tie it back to your business. Try to make it authentic.” 

Aldrich says that if a marketer can connect the dots between a pop culture reference and a product or service, then by all means, they should go for it. He does warn, however, that authenticity is critical and that pop culture must be weaved in properly.

“This could be the last time you speak with them [subscribers] -- make sure it represents you business and brand,” advises Aldrich.

Paul Brody, the chief product officer at CleverTap, also agrees that pop culture references in marketing can be a savvy business move.

“I think it’s definitely worth it to take a risk and engage with them [subscribers] on a whole different level,” says Brody.

He cites the popularity of the company’s new emoji feature as a telltale sign of how marketers are looking for new and creative ways to engage with their audience. 

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