Teasing your prospects


Some time ago, I came across an information booth for the Clear registered traveler program. In case you’re not familiar with this service, you basically pay a fee to have a background check run on you, after which they issue you a special card that gets you through airport security faster. Anyways, I spoke to a fairly helpful sales rep who said they would be bringing the Clear program to Chicago in the future. So, I gave them my email address and asked that they contact me once they were getting closer to launching in Chicago.

Well, about a year has passed since I signed up. Have I heard anything from Clear about their Chicago launch dates? Nope. But they have been kind enough to send me updates on their new cities and other benefits about two or three times a month. I’m fine with them keeping in touch, but I find the whole approach a bit misguided. After all, I can’t use their service in my home airports no matter how much I would like to. Until they add Chicago to their program, Clear is of limited value to me. Yet they continue to send emails touting the benefits of a product I can’t have.

When I think about it, the use of email marketing (or any other form of promotion) to push a product that the recipient can’t buy just ends up being a tease. In fact, customers are likely to perceive it as obnoxious, since you’re just rubbing the lack of availability in their face. It’s sort of like sending out weekly emails to people all across Europe reminding them how great your new US-only product is.

With all of this in mind, it makes sense to think about whether the people receiving your marketing messages can take action should they wish to. If there’s something beyond their control and yours standing in the way, one approach is to tone down the intensity and frequency of your emails about that forbidden product. Even better, provide an option for recipients to opt-out of the general email blasts, while still being notified when the product is available in their market. This gives your marketing campaigns a better focus, without needlessly teasing people who are waiting patiently for your product to come to their market.