With everything that piles up in the inbox, it looks like I would try to cut out some of the more useless items. But then, I wouldn’t be able to show you bad marketing practices, now would I?
I’m a big seafood fan. But sadly, here in landlocked / non-metropolitan / South Central Kentucky…the best option for seafood that’s not battered and served in a fast food bag…is the Red Lobster in Bowling Green. (Sometimes I break down and we drive to Louisville or Nashville….or the Ocean)
When the marketing message on my Red Lobster drink coaster suggested I do so at a meal about a year ago, I decided to join their online “Onboard Club”…(Arrrgh! What an original name!)
“Neat.” I thought. “I’ll be getting the ‘inside scoop’ on what’s happening…I’ll be treated like an Admiral when I come in, etc.”
Uhhh, no. I get an irregularly timed email that corresponds to the Red Lobster marketing calendar.
As previously discussed here, Lent not only prepares us for the coming of the holiness of Easter, but provides marketing opportunities for fish and fish products. While the Filet-o-Fish spotlight shines brightly over at MickeyD’s, the annual LobsterFest hoopla takes over at Red Lobster.
So, I get the Red Lobster e-mail today (a full week after Lent has begun) and my latest “inside scoop / secret decoder ring” message as a member of the “Overboard Club” is that LOBSTERFEST IS BACK!!
Really?! I couldn’t have garnered that from all the media they’ve already bought.
So you have a captive audience of Red Lobster “fans” who have self-sorted themselves as innovators / early adopters on the product adoption curve….and you’re giving them a stale message.
Here’s the thing that really bothers me about their program. The email also “automatically enters” me in a contest. Look at the screenshot of the email. If the email is being sent to Overboard Club members…who would “NOT be a member yet” and want to join?….It’s laziness on the part of the designers who have copied and pasted info directly from the website.
In addition, wouldn’t it be better to have e-mail recipients actually click on something to go to the Red Lobster main website and enter? It would drive traffic to the website. It would be a great way to gauge the effectiveness of your e-mail campaign. Instead, they’ve got a coma-induced contest that has no impact.
E-mail marketing is great when done right. What messes it up is the mentality of “oh yeah, send an e-mail, too” as an add-on to other marketing programs. If someone is giving your company permission to talk to them, those people should be treated like gold…not as second thoughts.
I meant for this to be a short post…just focusing on the “not a member yet” problem with the giveaway. But, I kept seeing problems what could be a really good frequency program / e-mail marketing program for Red Lobster. I could go on…but what do you think? Carey?…You’re the expert.
Overboard Club page :: http://www.redlobster.com/overboard/default.asp
tags:: email marketing – Red Lobster – rants – fish and lent