My senior moment in email marketing by Chris Donald @inboxgroup

My Senior Moment

Please welcome Christopher Donald of The Inbox Group with another great guest post! This one should have you rolling in the isles!  Check out his last post here! – jd

I was lucky enough to have an entire week off in February and spent that with my Dad.  You see, usually my Dad comes to visit only during the spring or summer months.  This is the first year since I moved to Texas that he has come during the winter. He doesn’t like the cold.

Okay maybe I should give you the background.  My Dad is retired (he’s 81) and lives in Winter Haven, Florida.  He has lived there now for twenty years in his retirement community.  Winter Haven has a very large population of retirees.  Or as my Dad likes to say, “Old people live in Miami Beach; their parents live in Winter Haven.”

On Saturday, Dad and I decided to go to the movies; I had received a discount for tickets from a local theater in their weekly email marketing message.  This is a treat for me as I rarely have time to go to the movies.  So off we went. I dropped Dad off in front of the theater as I was going to have to park quite a distance away, seems everyone else thought a movie that day was a good idea as well.  So Dad got in line for tickets while I parked.

By the time I got back he had already purchased the tickets so in we went.  I asked if he wanted popcorn, candy or a drink, and of course the answer was a resounding NO.  Was I crazy?  Didn’t I know that’s how they rob you of your money by charging $6 for a Drink and another $5 for popcorn?  You see it seems no matter how hard you try; as you get older the cost of popcorn can turn a senior citizen from a mild mannered retiree to a raging, maniacal, grey hulk on the war path over the cost of a box of malted milk balls.

Okay so no drink, no popcorn and no malted milk balls for me.

So we are walking up in line to the girl who takes the tickets and my Dad at the last second hands me my ticket.  I in turn hand the ticket to the young girl who proceeds to look at the ticket, looks back at me, looks at the ticket, again looks back at me, looks at my Dad, looks back at me, smiles, rips the ticket in half and says enjoy the movie.  A little bewildered I take my stub and we head to the theater.  As we get to our seats my Dad says, “Take a look at your ticket stub,” and to my horror I see it says SENIOR $6.50.  “I saved $3.00” he says with a big grin like he had the last laugh and got the upper hand on the MAN!

I just sat there stunned.  Not that he had saved his $3.00 or that I was worried that the theater police were to swoop in at any minute and uncover our misdeed… No it was the fact that I am now perceived by at very least the young girl who took my ticket as being a senior citizen.  I slumped down in my chair and quietly watched the movie.  With no drink, no popcorn and no malted milk balls to ease the pain.

It was then I realized why we were at the movies in the first place.  I had received an email from the theater with a special $4.00 off coupon, which I had forgotten about.  If we had used the coupon we would have saved even more money than Dad’s evil plan did.  Not only that, but the movie theater’s email marketing had worked, though they’ll never know that.  Seems my memory isn’t what it used to be.

After talking with Dad about his disdain for over-priced popcorn he told me something interesting.  Dad also subscribes to email marketing from movie theaters in his home town.  He complained that almost all the offers he receives are for discounts on Full-price tickets, so as a senior citizen he doesn’t get that discount as he pays a lower rate already.  So to him there is little benefit.  What he would rather have is a coupon for a free small popcorn, or drink.

So if the movie theater had actually segmented their list and sent different offers based on type of customer and offered a free small box of popcorn he would go and probably buy a drink as well to wash down the popcorn.

Takeaway: Remember, that with all the tracking, reports, point-of-sale coupons, etc. there will always be a portion of your email marketing success that you will never be able to track.  Email marketing can and does move people to take advantage of sales and specials.  They just may not always tell you or use those discounts when making a purchase.  It’s important to you that they do, but it’s not important to them.

Also, segment your audience and give them discounts they can take advantage of, not just discounts that you think appeal to everyone.

This was MY senior moment, Thanks Dad.

Cheers, Chris D.

P.S. That IS NOT me or my Dad in the photo ;o)

Meet the author:

Chris Donald

Chris Donald

Christopher Donald is currently a Partner and VP of Sales and Marketing at Inbox Group, LLC based in Dallas, where he oversees U.S. and International sales of the Inbox Group email marketing service (SaaS). Chris has worked on the front lines of internet sales and marketing since 1995 and directly in email marketing since 2000.

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