A New Post from the CEO

Wow, the CEO of Aéropostale emailed little ol’ me a New Year’s message! And so did the president/CEO of Yankee Candle! Gosh, they really care about me! I’ll never shop from another teen apparel merchant or scented-candle purveyor again!

I assume that’s the response these companies were going for when they planned these particular email campaigns. They must have figured mentioning the CEO in the subject line (Aéropostale: “Happy New Year from Tom Johnson, CEO”; Yankee Candle: “A heartfelt ‘Thanks’ from our CEO”—and no, I don’t know why “Thanks” is in quotation marks) would encourage opens and instill warm-and-fuzzies in recipients.

But these messages instilled only cynicism in my suspicious, cold little soul. I did like that the message from Aéropostale’s Tom (I figure we’re on a first-name basis now) included his email address: “…if you ever have a question or suggestion, I hope you don’t hesitate to share it with me…”  The letter also emphasized the company’s commitment to quality and community in a straightforward manner.

The Yankee Candle message was, like most of its fragrances, too cloying for my tastes: “Home is where our most cherished memories are made. Where the stories of our lives are fashioned and held close. As a reflection of our dreams and aspirations, home is the most personal of places. So I feel very privileged, as we approach a new year, that you have invited us into yours…” 

Of course, if Harlan M. Kent, Yankee Candle president and CEO, felt so privileged, he could have at least included an email address so that I could touch base with him, the way I can with my new buddy Aéropostale Tom.

These messages come across as hokey (at least to me) because they’re so out of character for these companies. I’ve never received anything but the usual promotional email messages from them before.

Conversely, I received several emails from Karmaloop founder and CEO Greg Silkoe during the holidays. Granted, most were part of a reactivation campaign. But it’s not unheard of for Greg (who included not only his email address in several of the messages but his mobile number too) to communicate via email to customers throughout the year. What’s more, Greg’s emails, in keeping with the hip, fun, trendy Karmaloop brand, are disarmingly informal:
“It's me, your fearless CEO and Sushi Chef Greg Selkoe @Selkoe. I want to tell you about a bunch of exciting things coming up in the loop they call Karma over the next few weeks! 
“But first... since we love you so damn much:
“30% OFF & FREE SHIPPING NEXT 24 HOURS!! It's this simple Buy Any NEW or REGULAR PRODUCT (excluding sale stuff).  SHOP NOW!
“What? wait... did I just read this correctly? How do you guys work the magic you do? Nobody knows, roll with it!”

The emails from Karmaloop Greg come across as part and parcel of the Karmaloop brand. The lone emails from Aéropostale Tom and Harlan M. Kent seemed like patches sewn onto the fabric of their brands at the last minute.

At least the Aéropostale email provided recipients with an outlet for feedback (Tom’s email address). Assuming Tom or one of his minions actually responds in a timely, personal manner to any messages sent to that address, Aéropostale’s New Year message could be seen as an effective means of establishing a genuine relationship of sorts with subscribers.  

As for the Yankee Candle email… well, maybe the Real Housewives of South Boston would have appreciated the message.

(Yes, this is my first email-related post for quite some time. Most of my 2012 posts were related to writing, editing, and marketing my novel Beyond Billicombe, which was published in September. Beyond Billicombe has nothing to do with email marketing, but I think you might like it anyway; you can check it out here.) 


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  2. Just saying thanks wouldn’t just be enough, for the fantastic fluency in your writing.Paula Hurd