3 Marketing Lessons from J. Crew

Last night I received a $50 gift card from J. Crew in the mail.  I thought it was a scam at first, then I opened up the envelope and read the note that said something along the lines of “we miss you, here’s $50 on us to use at location or online.”

Genius.  And how easy was that? What’s $50 to a big brand like J. Crew? Especially when they know that I’m probably going to have to pull out my wallet and go above the discount amount to get something that I really wanted.

This will most likely be a very successful campaign (in getting more dough from suckers like myself) and one that small brands can certainly learn from.  Here are three important takeaways from a marketing perspective:

Successful marketing relies on good data.  This is a great example of the importance of having great customer data.  By having the ability to identify that I was a frequent shopper who hadn’t made a purchase recently, J. Crew was able to reach out to me and offer an incentive to get me back in the store and make it feel like we have a personal relationship and that they truly care about my business.

Surprise and delight goes a long way. Simple “wow” type moments are things that customers will always remember—and more importantly, tell their friends about.  J. Crew knows this and they took advantage of it.  Think of it like this: they paid me $50 to spread positive word of mouth about their brand.  Well worth it.

Be proactive.  Reach out and connect with those customers who have gone dark on you.  They won’t come back unless you stay top of mind and give them a good reason to do so.  In this case, the incentive to get me back was a $50 gift card, but it doesn’t have to be that significant.  J. Crew is a big brand with a big budget for this type of stuff, but it doesn’t always have to break the bank.  All it might take is an email with a $5 off coupon, a free car wash or a free cup of coffee.  Then, once I’m back in the store, it’s up to the business to provide a great experience and continue to keep in touch.

What are some of the best relationship marketing programs that you have seen?

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