Best Buy Email – FAIL

Best Buy Email Marketing Failure

Inside Best Buy’s Marketing Department

Let me share a little story with you.  It may not be true, but when you see what Best Buy really did later in this post you just may believe it.

Marketing Wonk 1: You know those two email lists we have here in the Best Buy Email Marketing Department?

Marketing Wonk 2: You mean List 1 that makes us money and List 2 that makes us NO money?

Marketing Wonk 1: Yeah.  Well, we just realized that List 1 is empty and List 2 is huge!

Marketing Wonk 2: That sucks.  It makes me sad.

Sad Clown
Creative Commons License photo credit: shawncampbell

Marketing Wonk 1: No shit.  But we’ve come up with a clever “Blue Shirt” idea.

Marketing Wonk 2: I’m listening.

Marketing Wonk 1: Let’s combine the two lists so we can send promotional emails to the bigger audience and make more money.

Marketing Wonk 2:  But List 2 doesn’t want those emails.

Marketing Wonk 1: Yeah, so I’ve put our best copywriter on that.  She’ll sell it as an enhancement.

Marketing Wonk 2:  Genius!

It’s A True Story

Yup, that’s exactly what they did on 10/29/2010 with the following email to me and many of my friends.  Hell, if one of my friends hadn’t pointed it out to me I wouldn’t have noticed.

Best Buy Email Marketing Change

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Here’s the plain text version:

You are receiving this e-mail because Best Buy® has changed the way marketing e-mail communications are managed. Currently you are registered to receive marketing communications from the Reward Zone® program, but have opted to not receive marketing communications related to Best Buy generally.

We are writing to let you know that Best Buy has changed the way it manages opt-out preferences. Going forward, opting out of either Reward Zone or Best Buy marketing communications will result in being removed from both marketing lists. In order to honor your request to receive Reward Zone program e-mails containing special offers, invitations to events and account updates, you have been opted-in to receiving Best Buy marketing communications generally. If you do not wish to receive these e-mail communications, you will need to update your opt-out preferences. Please note that if you do opt-out of Best Buy marketing communications, you will also opt-out of marketing communications from Reward Zone. You would continue to receive e-mails regarding your accounts and purchases at Best Buy, services with Geek Squad and Reward Zone certificates.

Oh No They Didn’t

Sure enough, 11 days later I get my first promotional email from them. You would think they would come out of the gate with a winner, wouldn’t you?

Best Buy Cheesy Wine Promotion

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Wine?  Really?

If you manage your email marketing department or have any influence on those that do, please don’t do this!  It’s wrong.

Their Email Marketing Department changed the rules on Email List 2 and anyone with their eyes open knows exactly why they did this.

Best Buy Email FAIL!

What Do You Think?

Update January 14, 2011

My buddy feels our pain as well.  He sent me this much-too-common unsubscribe confirmation notice:

Best Buy Unsubscribe Fail

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Get Paid to Drink Beer

31 Days of WOBtoberfestHERE’S AN IDEA!

Create a project where you get to drink beer every day, write it off as a company expense and have everyone think you are some smart internet guy.

Well I did just that.

In mid-September I came up with the idea to embark on a social media experiment during October.

World of Beer - WestchaseUsing a local bar, World of Beer – Westchase, and its annual beer and music festival, WOBtoberfest, as my target I created my version of a flash mob, the 31 Days of WOBtoberfest.

I went to it every day in October, sampling two different beers and blogging about it.

And no I have/had no affiliation with the bar.  I paid full price for everyone one of my beers!


But the experiment was more than 2 beer reviews a day.  I extended the website with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Vimeo, allowing me to reach different audiences in whatever manner they preferred.

The highlights were interesting and contrary to what I thought they would have been:

  • Very few people found out about it through organic search.  Those that did, quickly bounced off of the site.
  • Business Cards

    Business Cards

  • It appears the offline activities played the biggest role.  Things like talking it up, leaving business cards everywhere and working the bar and its staff played the biggest role in attracting new visitors.
  • David Meerman Scott Tweet

    David Meerman Scott Tweet

  • Even with mentions by David Meerman Scott [PHOTO] and ads on Facebook, [PHOTO] they provided little in terms of repeat visitors, email subscriptions or RSS subscriptions.
  • 31WOB Facebook Ad

    31WOB Facebook Ad

  • The two online bumps we had were tied directly to WOB’s rabid fan base.  Early on they put out a Facebook status update that spiked visitors and subscribers.  Also there were two articles in their weekly email newsletter that drove new traffic.
  • 31WOB Email Preview

    31WOB Email Preview

  • The repeat visitors were largely due to a daily email update.  With an open rate of over 54% and a click-through rate of over 30%, I would consider that a major success.

They always say “the money’s in the list”.  This was no different.  Email played the most significant role is connecting with the fans of 31 WOB!


  • What else should I pick apart and expose to you?
  • How do you think I should measure success?
  • Would the results have been different if there was more time in advance to build up anticipation?
  • Was the experiment just too short to achieve anything greater?

Check out some of the hard numbers from the experiments Day 31 post for a more humorous look at its success.

Elections Are Not Customer-Focused

I Voted


Today is Election Day and in my usual manner I crammed my research into the last 24 hours before voting this morning.  I do that every time I vote.

But as I’m driving to my precinct I was reminded of how many people don’t vote because they are uninformed.  Much like a customer who is not ready to buy, they don’t buy.

In marketing we say “be there when the customer is ready to buy.”


So why can’t the election process work the same way?  Let’s have a constant election process that lets people make their voice heard when they are ready and interested in voting.

Sure you would have to address issues like consistency in office, moderating impacts from current events and such, but you wouldn’t have this massive rush of only a very small minority of people making decisions for the masses.

Let’s put voting software in the card swipe at gas stations and grocery stores.


Of course this is just a joke.  I say it to only contrast the difference between decision-making out there.  We marketers pace ourselves to be there when the customer wants to decide.  Elected officials only put on their customer face once every 4 years.

I envy them.