How Email Can Hurt Your Brand

Disclaimer: Originally, I did opt into Frontgate’s email list.  This is a diatribe about the lack of value I have since received, even though their email deliverability was high.

Frontgate is one of my favorite home furnishings brands.  Their magazines are well done and the quality of their products typically exceeds my standards.  Despite my 365-day affinity for Frontgate, I only buy during one specific time of year, the holidays.

When I am taking a break from developing email verification software and enjoying the holidays, I find myself at Frontgate, where my spending in recent years has admittedly been higher than normal. My spending must have hit a threshold that triggered Frongate to implode my inbox with a robust amount of emails. Personally, I have no problem with frequent emails from brands I like provided they are interesting, relevant, and consistent with the brand.  Unfortunately, Frontgate’s email program misses the mark on all 3.

After reviewing the last 32 days of my email Inbox and reviewing all of Frontgate’s emails this is what I found:

  • 24 emails from Frontgate in 32 days.
  • 22 of 24 emails (91%) promoted Discounts, Savings, or Free Shipping in the subject line.
  • Only 2 emails actually suggested something non-cost-savings related in the sub-line:    Valentines Gift Ideas and Spa Quality Teak For My Home.
  • No emails sent on Tuesdays, at the suggestion of an expert I imagine. Thank you expert.

The Frontgate brand is one and the same with premium prices and quality products.  For the past 32 days Frontgate’s email deliverability system has been synonymous with coupons, discounts, and freebies. As a consumer this portrays a big disconnect between the non-email brand and the email brand. Email marketing can in many cases optimize a company, however it can hurt a company much like Frontgate.

Sadly, Frontgate is not alone.  Many top enterprises fail to represent their brand properly through the email channel. Would any of these companies call me 24 times in 32 days informing me about a great 60% off sales with free shipping TODAY ONLY?  No, the truth is that calling is cost inefficient and after the third call I would not pick up.

With 24 emails in 32 days and counting two things have occurred. I still have yet to unsubscribe from the email list and Frontgate email content hasn’t become any more relevant.  Maybe I’m still in because I hope to see something of value eventually.  Or maybe they’re still batch-and-blasting because they haven’t yet found the magic of segmentation.  I still love Frontgate, but I can’t wait forever.  My Inbox is simply too crowded with other companies saying things I want to hear.

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