It became apparent to me this week that email marketing has hit a new level as I was bombarded with marketing messages from Amazon. Although on a grand scale, this tactic might be very effective; to a web savy online marketer I was more fascinated with their tactics rather than the products they were marketing.

About 12 days ago I was casually browsing Amazon (whilst being logged into my account) for ‘Point and Shoot’ Cameras. I didn’t favourite, recommend, like, compare any product, but probably spent two or three minutes looking a variety of products before closing down the window. I had no intention of purchasing anything, and was purely in the ‘research stage’ of the buying cycle.

Email #1: Canon Best Sellers with social proof

Amazon has obviously tracked my movements and now begun their follow up marketing campaign. The first email was casually prompting me about what other users has been looking at this week and contained short descriptions, images and links to further reviews of the products. The email only contained Canon products.

Email #2: The Upsell Competition

Amazon most likely tracked that I had opened up the first email, spent a short amount of time reading the email and then clicked through to Amazon and browsed a few more products.

Within 24 hours of the first email they have sent me a second marketing message. This was one a completely different sales approach, there were no list of products, there was no social proof but merely a competition to win a Digital SLR Camera. Are they trying to upsell me from a Point and Shoot to a SLR?

Well unfortunately, this competition is for Amazon Prime members – which is a membership not available to Australians. Fail.

 

Email #3: Kodak Best Sellers with Social Proof

I received the third email another 24 hours after the DSLR competition email. It has an identical format and content structure to the first email – except its purely marketing Kodak cameras.

It’s noteworthy that emails #1 and #3 do not contain my name.

Email #4: Deal of the Day and Cross Selling

It’s now been approximately 4 days since I browsed point and shoot cameras on Amazon and the marketing campaign has taken a slightly different turn.

I’ve now received a special daily deal offering me almost 50% off the listed Amazon price.

Although not shown in the below image, Amazon have also begun cross selling products related to cameras – such as Digital Image frames.

Email #5: The Full Product Package

Another 24 hours later and my frustration has turned to curiosity as I analyse their email marketing campaign. The fifth email entices me to buy a package bundle; camera complete with case and memory card.

Why have they stopped personally addressing me by name?

Email #6: Best Sellers No Specific Brand

The 6th email that I received is similar in content and format to emails #1 and #3 except they have chosen to market no specific brand and present a range of best sellers.

At this point, I just start clicking on all products and clicking around on Amazon to see how this will impact the proceeding marketing messages (if at all!)

Email #7: Most Popular Branded

It’s now been 7 or 8 days since I browsed that Amazon site and they are still bombarding me with marketing materials. Email #7 has presented me with the ‘most popular’ Nikon Coolpix point and shoot cameras which has an identical format to emails #1, #3 and #6 but with slightly different content.

They have opted for the subject line to contain the words ‘Our Most Popular’ rather than ‘Best Selling’ which was present in email #1

Email #8: Father’s Day Deals In June?

Complete and utter failure for Amazon’s marketing campaign. Father’s Day in the US is June 19th, but in Australia it’s not until September.

The email itself has been formatted perfectly with sneaky upsell products.

Email #9: The Perfect Product for me?

The 9th email I received was only the second to address me by name. The title is also very specific, mentioning a product name and specifications.

The body of the email contains a list of Canon PowerShot cameras.

Conclusion

The fact that Amazon actioned such a targeted marketing campaign leads me to believe that this ‘hard-handed’ approach must work. This marketing campaign involved upselling, competitions, social proof and seasonal events – it was very well thought out, and I’m sure their analysts are pumping through the data as I write.

However, at the end of the day, they failed to localise their campaign. At no stage did they realise i was Australian. On two occasions this tripped them up:

  • Father’s Day marketing (which does not occur for another 3 months in Australia)
  • Amazon Prime marketing (which is not available in Australia)

Was location based advertising simply overlooked in that Amazon Marketing meeting? It appears so.