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Setting expectations at the point of sale

In my consulting, I emphasize that senders must set recipient expectations correctly. Receiver sites spend a lot of time listening to their users and design filters to let wanted and expected mail through. Senders that treat recipients as partners in their success usually have much better email delivery than those senders that treat recipients as targets or marks.
Over the years I’ve heard just about every excuse as to why a particular client can’t set expectations well. One of the most common is that no one does it. My experience this weekend at a PetSmart indicates otherwise.
As I was checking out I showed my loyalty card to the cashier. He ran it through the machine and then started talking about the program.
Cashier: Did you give us your email address when you signed up for the program?
Me: I’m not sure, probably not. I get a lot of email already.
Cashier: Well, if you do give us an email address associated with the card every purchase will trigger coupons sent to your email address. These aren’t random, they’re based on your purchase. So if you purchase cat stuff we won’t send you coupons for horse supplies.
I have to admit, I was impressed. PetSmart has email address processes that I recommend to clients on a regular basis. No, they’re not a client so I can’t directly take credit. But whoever runs their email program knows recipients are an important part of email delivery. They’re investing time and training into making sure their floor staff communicate what the email address will be used for, what the emails will offer and how often they’ll arrive.
It’s certainly possible PetSmart has the occasional email delivery problem despite this, but I expect they’re as close to 100% inbox delivery as anyone else out there.

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