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

Click to View Full-Size

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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6 thoughts on “Best Buy Email – FAIL

  1. I think it’s deceptive on a professional level, and not sure if it was mentioned, but is there just a grace period when you sign up, and it’s all part of their crappy plan to switch you over in two weeks regardless? I think I’ll go buy something and return it.


    • Munda,

      I completely agree. I have since tried to unsubscribe and still received their emails. I really should have recorded the events/days to see just how bad they are email marketing.


  2. I bought a laptop from Best Buy earlier this year as a gift for a family member. It came with a free 6 month anti-virus subscription, which I told the salesperson who assisted me that I wouldn’t be needing as I already had one that I planned to use. He told me that I had to take it or else he couldn’t sell me the laptop. I knew that was a steaming load of BS, but I took it just to save myself the headache, and so I could just get the hell out of there with the laptop. They asked me for my e-mail address during check-out, and I declined to give it to them. Somehow I still ended up getting e-mails informing me that I needed to register my anti-virus software, and then when the free trial period expired, that I needed to renew it. I just ignored the e-mails for a while, but they began to come in with increasing frequency over the months. I checked my e-mail this morning before work, and I saw several copies of the same e-mail in my inbox that all came in over the past 24 hours or so, each one informing me that “Oops, your anti-virus software has expired, but it’s only $39.99 to renew it!”. I called customer service this morning to get it taken care of because there’s no way to opt out of the e-mails, and because by this point I’m starting to get really annoyed by how obnoxious and forceful these e-mails come across as being. The CSR that I spoke to told me that since the credit-card that I used to purchase the laptop was associated with an account that I’d created on the Best Buy website, they used the e-mail address that’s also associated with that account to send me those e-mails. They said that they were allowed to do this regardless of whether or not I gave them permission to do it, because they had a prior business relationship with me that they were free to exploit for marketing opportunities if they so choose. I appreciated her candor, but I wasn’t a happy camper.
    Whether or not they’re technically allowed to do this due to our existing business relationship, it just comes off as shady. Nobody asked me if I’d like to receive these e-mails, and in fact, when they asked for my e-mail address I declined to give it to them precisely because I didn’t. They don’t allow you to opt out of receiving them without requiring you to call them to get it done, which I’m willing to bet a paycheck is something that they’re banking on most people not having the time or inclination to do. The CSR maintains that Best Buy was simply trying to be helpful, and I’m sure the company genuinely believes it. It’s not though. It creates more ill-will than good, and it’s not unusual for this sort of thing to happen. So many businesses these days seem to be under the impression that the possibility that they’ll hook a few people with brute-force marketing is worth the risk that it’ll generate a bit of ill-will, but that doesn’t seem like wise marketing to me. Whether or not Best Buy was simply trying to be helpful, the way that they went about it was obnoxious, and feels rather disrespectful to me. It sets a troubling precedent, and one that leaves me wary of doing business with them again. So if they were trying to be helpful, they failed miserably.


    • Cyberxion,

      I continue to get receive unwanted emails from them.  Even though they can claim prior relationships to avoid CAN-SPAM compliance, they still have to honor our unsubscribe requests.

      Mark Regan


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