As the holidays get underway, it’s time for cheer and catching up. Recently, my family and I had the opportunity to spend some time with out-of-town relatives we only see a few times a year. As we talked, I heard my godbrother say something that caught my attention: “Let me check my SPAM folder for coupons from XYZ store.”
Of course I had to dig further.
The Q&A that followed was worthy of sharing with you all. Although only a consumer test group of two (he and his wife), the mindset he shared was interesting:
Q. Why would you assume that the offers you are looking for would be in your SPAM folder?
A. Because I put them there.
Q. [Slight head tilt] Why would you put them in the SPAM folder if you knew that you wanted those offers?
A. Because I want to be able to engage with, and read them, when I want and need them -- not when the brand sends the offers to me.
Q. Why not just create a folder for “promotions” or “offers” that you can filter messages to for access at a later time?
A. I didn’t know I could create folders in my email account. There is a SPAM folder in there already, so I just put them in there.
Q. So for you, SPAM has become synonymous with offers?
A. Yeah, basically.
Q. You do realize that by putting those messages in the SPAM folder, you could negatively impact the various brands you put in there, and their ability to deliver email at all? It could also cause them to stop sending email to you.
A. No, it didn’t even cross my mind that it could negatively impact them. And why would they stop sending to me just because I put an email in the SPAM folder? Someone should educate the public about that, because I had no idea.
Q. Why not just unsubscribe, then?
A. Because I actually want the email. I just want it when I want it -- and will read it when I want to read it. But having too much email in my inbox is frustrating, so I move [the ones I want] to the SPAM folder to keep my inbox organized.
Q. Could a brand sending too much email to you cause a negative connotation for you with the brand?
A. Absolutely. There are a few brands that send way too much email for my liking -- even for my SPAM folder. But I don’t really ever unsubscribe. It may make me annoyed with them, but it hasn’t yet prevented me from doing business with them. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The conundrum I faced from this conversation was that this small consumer sample set views email as a coupon channel filled with coupons, offers and deals that he can pluck from his SPAM folder when he is actually ready to shop -- much like coupon clippers. The email being received isn’t driving incremental shopping behavior, per se, but could be influencing WHOM he is shopping with.
I am still processing what to do with this information, as it definitely indicates a few things for me that need deeper consideration:
Perhaps as the holiday season continues, additional family conversations will trigger inspiration for what to do with this information. But one thing is certain as 2016 approaches: Driving incremental behavior in consumers through email should be something we all resolve to do in the New Year.
What do you all think? Is a “there” there in this conversation, or is it just a sample set of two?
Let the holidays begin!