Email Thursday – Opt-Down, MacGuyver Style



So I received this email from Best Buy and it made me think about the whole opt-out or opt-down issue that is always being discussed. Sure, it’s good to scrub your lists periodically and make sure that you are trying to retain and communicate with only those users who are interested and engaged, but you also need to make sure that you are trying to always expand your list and reduce churn. What interested me about this email was that it is combining the general marketing communications with the Reward Zone communications. Why, pray tell, would I care? Well, the way I currently have it set up is that I get my Rewards Zone points emailed to me in coupon form every so often, it depends upon how often I shop. So if I spend X dollars, the next month I may get a coupon worth $10 off my next purchase. Which is awesome. But they have expiration dates about one month out (I believe, I may be incorrect on the exact time frame) so the reward points need to be used. Essentially, they’ve created a sense or urgency to use the points, and the only way I know how many points I have is to either have them emailed to me or to log onto a web page to see how many I have.

What this new email strategy amounts to is essentially a big gamble with Best Buy’s entire list; they’re giving us all an ultimatum. If you want your coupons emailed to you, then you need to sign up for all of the other stuff we’re sending in addition. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition, and one I not totally convinced on.

I am not a typical Best Buy user I would imagine. I mostly use Best Buy to put my hands on gadgets, do my market research or if I need something immediately and can’t wait for the shipping from the much less expensive online sites I usually buy from. I am a high value/low frequency customer. I rarely spend there, but when I do, I spend a bunch. TV’s on sale, cameras… the amount adds up. But it’s perhaps once every 6 months that I shop there, maybe more like once per year. Regardless, it seems to me that they are taking a risk with their installed user base. True, they may see a drop off in coupon redemption which will means more revenue for them, but will the drop off in coupon usage be worth the potential loss of users in the email channel? Only time will tell. I’ll keep my ear to the ground and hopefully, a future Email Thursday will have an follow-up.

And to briefly reference a previous week’s post, I once again find myself pondering what exactly the value of a contact is. I wonder how Best Buy would answer that question…