Do you check the weather before you send your email promos? Maybe you should.
I recently received a promo from REI. The promo itself is good on multiple levels:
- I love REI.
- Winter is my favorite season.
- I’ve always wanted to try snowshoeing.
Also, the promo is attractive and colorful. Here’s a look at it:
Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Except for one thing. Check out the seven-day forecast.
It’s currently 65° as I write this. And it was nearly 60 degrees and raining the day I received this, so all my beautiful snow is melting into a muddy sloppy mess. Now, I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure they call it snowshoeing for a reason. You need two things to engage in the sport, and the absence of either one of them profoundly impacts your ability to participate.
Through no fault of REI, the promo didn’t hit with the impact it could have. So, the company lost out on a great potential opportunity. You can blame this on global warming, our expanding world population, El Niño, or just bad luck, but the end result is that they hit an audience that could not capitalize on their offer.
The good news is that now REI is in the back of my mind. The bad news is that I wasn’t able to act immediately. It’s going to take an extra step to dig this back up should the opportunity arise (read: should this miserable weather actually turn into winter). Who knows how many other folks will just delete this email right after reading it because it doesn’t apply?
Receiving the ill-timed promo made me realize the great influence that external factors, such as weather and holidays, have on your promotions. You can have everything for your promotion planned… and then have it flounder due to unusually warm weather. Or you can plan to promote a major event—only to have it overshadowed by a product recall, parts shortage, or some other event beyond your control. The unpredictable factor can make you or break you sometimes.
Now, there’s no way that REI could have tailored the email to be sent to every region of the country only when there was snow. The company made a reasonable guess that the weather would be cold, based on the date, and decided to send it. Can’t fault them for that. Just bad luck.
But could they have done something differently? And if so, what?