A Lesson in Email Marketing: Harris Scarfe’s Less-Than-Personal Anniversary Message

A Lesson in Email Marketing: Harris Scarfe’s Less-Than-Personal Anniversary Message

I feel so bonded to Harris Scarfe now.

Our three year anniversary has been noted by them sending me a special offer addressed to “Hi”.

Not only is that a touching sentiment, but they’ve also helped me avoid embarrassment by foolishly expecting the 5% off Electrical Appliances might actually include Electrical items.

You see, that’s how friends care for each other.*

The actual Harris Scarfe email

Is There A Lesson In Email Marketing Here?

From a marketing communication perspective, the robotic anonymity of the opening, and the legalistic exclusion of the special offer (giving an immediate sense of being disingenuous and cynical), have resulted in a hollow experience at this end.

Can’t we do better? Isn’t 5% the most tokenistic discount a retailer could offer?

It would be like returning from a business trip and being met at the airport by your small children without having bought them a present, but instead of owning up to that, offering them your boarding pass and trying to pass it off as a gift.

Communication Should Not Be A Chore

How much thought and care goes into communication like this?

It reminds me of a boutique gym I attended, knowing both owners and most staff, which sent me a generic birthday card each year with nothing personal written in it at all. It was a disconnect; it was in stark contrast to the intimate warmth exuded in every other interaction.

Communication, whether a routine newsletter or a “special” note, should never be undertaken as a thoughtless chore. Every message draws from the generous “access account” of the recipient; amuse or help them and you get increased interest, disappoint or annoy them and you’ll soon find the account closed.

Let’s all remember that and try to use curiosity to spark joy in every communication activity we carry out.

*Friends excludes retail outlets.

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