'Don't Buy This Jacket' Email Helped Patagonia Sell a Lot of Jackets

Outdoor retailer Patagonia is focused on the customer in ways that most retailers might not be. This is because the company is aiming at creating a customer for life. In a keynote at Email Insider Summit today, Steve Wages, email marketing manager at Patagonia, explained that this even means trying to talk customers out of buying something.

Irreverence is at the core of the company's marketing and the company has gone so far as to send a holiday email with the call to action, "Don't Buy This Jacket" -- which actually had a beneficial reverse psychology, and sales were good. 

Patagonia is environmentally focused as a company and gives 1 percent of revenues to organizations working to save the environment. Employees of the company can even go on environmental internships and still earn a Patagonia salary. With this in mind, the brand offers free repairs, because why throw away a ski jacket that just needs to be fixed?



The company is able to turn these philosophies into powerful marketing. The repairs offer is an excellent way to acquire new customers or to get customers who are already loyal to share more data. The company tracks order repair data along with purchase history to help identify the sports that a customers likes and distinguish the skiers from fishers and surfers. The retailer then uses this data to send personalized stories about the sports that customers love. 

Compared to product emails sent to their full customer list, the company's targeted, sport-specific messages have shown 30 percent better open rates and 79 percent better revenue per email.


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