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Do you scan your inbox for special offers?

August 7, 2012

Its mid-week, you fancy going out for tea but you’re not sure where to go. You quickly scan your inbox to find an email from the restaurant offering the best deal. There’ll be £10 off here or a buy-one-get-one-free there, lots to choose from. Easy, simply print off your voucher/save it to your smart phone, head to the restaurant, present it to your waiter/waitress – get your meal and enjoy!
Not a new concept by any means, but I was at an event last week where somebody said “Have we become trained to only look for special offer emails?” and it really stuck in my mind.

Over the years I’ve signed up to so many restaurants simply for their ‘special offers’ that I could probably eat out somewhere different at a discounted rate, every night of the week. The question is, if we’re so used to seeing these types of mailings in our inbox, does it devalue or change our opinion of the brand? Does it make the experience less special?
I for one have begun to expect certain places to send me these offers and won’t eat there unless I have a voucher from them. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that thinks that way. I wouldn’t take a special someone there for a romantic meal or a celebration. Call me a snob, but it’s true. We expect particular things from these types of chains, the same quality of food at each different branch, to be served quickly, everything on the menu to be available etc.
I honestly think those creating and delivering these messages should get a good old pat on the back. These offers are work to bring in a steady stream of paying customers through the door, generating revenue when tables may otherwise remain empty. These regular email campaigns have made eating out cheaper, more accessible as well as creating a loyal customer base. Hell some of them even personalise their emails when it's your birthday! But are people now becoming savvy to these deals? Has this tactic done any long lasting damage to their brand reputation? One thing for certain is that if restaurants decided to change their email marketing strategy and these email offers no longer existed, there would be a lot fewer people eating out on a school night.

Have you ever been turned on or off by these types of campaigns? How often do you trawl your inbox for discounts for products or services from a single brand? Would you continue to buy from that brand if the special offers stopped? 

Posted by Jenni Malley

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