First a disclosure: I love Target with a passion. I will drive past the local Super Walmart and go 10 miles out of my way to go to Target. As a result, I signed up for Target’s email program approximately four years ago. At the time, I filled out a profile with demographic data and provided my zip code when I signed up. I began to receive specials and personalized content based on my location for my local Target.
Fast-forward four years: I no longer live in that city or near the local Target. However, I am still receiving special email offers for my (old) local Target (see below):
While I applaud Target for sending geo-targeted content to subscribers to increase relevancy, they have never once, in four years, asked me if my profile data is still accurate. Boat, missed. As I’m still committed to my long-term relationship with Target, I decided to scroll to the very bottom of the email.
If I were the average subscriber, would I know that behind the "My Account" link I could also update my profile data? Tip for marketers: Have a loved one or friend not affiliated with your brand "secret shop" your emails and site to ensure the average user understands your terminology.
I clicked through and was taken to a page to sign in.
Another opportunity missed to reduce the barriers for subscribers to update their profiles. Listen: Your subscribers are constantly evolving and making lifestyle changes (more on that in a moment), so you have to be sure you are still providing targeted, relevant, valuable content that hits them at the right time. For now, I’m either going to continue to receive no longer relevant content based on profile data from four years ago, or I’m going to unsubscribe.
On a side note, in addition to localized emails, Target has begun sending me messages targeted to new parents.
Now, when I signed up, I believe I provided my birth date and maybe Target decided now is the time in my life when I should/would be having a baby. However, this is not the case. Granted, I am going in with the assumption that they only send targeted and segmented emails. An email entirely focused on babies, again with no option to tell Target that these emails are not relevant, may cause many subscribers to hit the "spam" button (because remember, spam could also mean "not relevant"), unsubscribe or disengage from their emails. Don’t miss the boat on ensuring you’re hitting the right audience with the right, most valuable and relevant message, at the right time.
Target, I love you, but let’s take this baby thing one step at a time, okay? Give your preferences center a little TLC and your subscribers will love you that much more.
Email Marketing Strategist at Bronto Software