Email Marketing: Choose Your Battleground Wisely

Posted by Scott Cohen On May 3, 2011 in story time I One Comment

As we enter (and swiftly exit) Mother’s Day “season” for marketing, I am reminded of a quote from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu:

“He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.”

Let’s face it. The inbox can be a warzone. And companies are sending more and more email every day, making that warzone increasingly cluttered and difficult to navigate.

Holiday seasons are even worse, as everyone (and their moms) tries to get in on the action, maximizing sales while minimizing costs (which makes email such an attractive marketing option). But what if your best sales cycles aren’t during the various holiday seasons? Should you try to compete for the attention?

If you listen to Sun Tzu (and Chad White of the Retail Email Blog), you would answer “No.”

Sun Tzu’s main point is that victory is achieved before you even take to the field of battle, that strategy trumps everything. Putting that into the email marketing vernacular, the message is simple:

Don’t send email when you don’t have to. Don’t compete when you know you won’t win.

Several months ago, I asked Chad (on Email Radio) about what companies should do during holiday seasons where they don’t have a holiday sales cycle or a holiday incentive. He said, “Don’t try. Why compete through the holiday clutter if it isn’t your time of year.”

He went on to highlight flower shops and say that they should focus their efforts on the holidays they own (Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day) as opposed to competing for the ones they don’t.

It makes sense: Understand your battlefield, develop your strategy correctly, and win before you even begin.

If you can compete during the holidays, do it.

If not, wait until it’s the right time to fight.

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