BLOG

Marketing and storms

Never let it be said that marketers can’t take advantage of anything. In this case, there was a lot of commercial email mentioning Hurricane Sandy sent over the last few days. The emails themselves mapped into a number of broad categories.

Informational: Emails from hotels, airlines and east coast businesses keeping customers updated about their current status.  Emails from many banks also fell into this category. Generally these emails offered information about reservations, flight statuses and cancellations. In the case of banks, customers were also told about loosening of overdraft and other policies.

Sales: Some retailers used the storm as an excuse for a storm. American Apparel sent out an email advertising a 36 hour sale for residents in states on the hurricane path. This prompted some recipients to complain about the tastelessness of the advertising.

Relief efforts: A number of companies sent out emails encouraging subscribers to donate to relief efforts. In many cases these companies are located in or have employees directly affected by the storm. Some of these companies offered discounts or bonuses to people who donated to relief efforts.

Spam: Finally, I would be remiss in not pointing out that spammers and scammers come out in force after most natural disasters. Spammers took full advantage of the storm, too and were sending out lots of mail mentioning the storm. Mailchimp dedicated a full blog post to looking at the amount of spam mentioning the storm and its impact on email delivery.

Return Path has an analysis of some of the Sandy related mailings and how they performed both between categories (although Return Path didn’t categorize them like I did) and within categories. It’s well worth a read to see how different approaches worked.

Email is a great way to communicate with people. The breadth of emails going out about or referencing the storm are a testament to that.

1 comment

  1. Josh Social says

    You are so right. I see cold medications take advantage of this every year. People get sick and they have a solution. But in some cases it can feel overboard. Like in your example which is in reference to hurricane sandy i believe, it can be poor taste to work a marketing message into relief efforts. It’s all about the way the company approaches it. Nice post!

Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • AOL compromise

    Lots of reports today of a security problem at AOL where accounts are sending spam, or are being spoofed in spam runs or something. Details are hazy, but there seems to be quite a bit of noise surrounding this incident. AOL hasn't provided any information as of yet as to what is going on.4 Comments


  • ReturnPath on DMARC+Yahoo

    Over at ReturnPath Christine has an excellent non-technical summary of the DMARC+Yahoo situation, along with some solid recommendations for what actions you might take to avoid the operational problems it can cause.No Comments


  • AOL problems

    Lots of people are reporting ongoing (RTR:GE) messages from AOL today.  This indicates the AOL mail servers are having problems and can't accept mail. This has nothing to do with spam, filtering or malicious email. This is simply their servers aren't functioning as well as they should be and so AOL can't accept all the mail thrown at them. These types of blocks resolve themselves. 1 Comment


Archives