Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Before you send that Fathers’ Day email marketing campaign consider this ⬇️⬇️⬇️

Christoph Trappe

June 16, 2017

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Fathers’ Day is this weekend and of course many brands are using days on the calendar like this one and other newer “holidays” as reasons to write a blog post, do social media posts and also send email marketing campaigns.

I’ve shared my opinion before on what brands should be doing on social media on holidays and that really hasn’t changed much. (Read that article here.)

I do appreciate when brands try new things. One of those new things came in the form of an email that basically said that when I entered my father’s life I changed his life. Being a father myself now that’s certainly true. 

It also said that I should thank my dad for everything he’s done.

Here’s the thing: I haven’t spoken to my dad in decades. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you what he’s currently doing. I don’t have his phone number and as far as I can tell he is not on social media.

I know I’m not alone in that regard of the situation. And it’s fine. But what’s the point of an email like that anyway? Why use a valuable communication touch with me (the consumer) here to remind me and ask me to thank somebody I haven’t seen in decades? 

The other thing I couldn’t figure out was what that entire message had to do with the brand that sent it. Maybe I’m missing something, but given the over abundance of brand communication nowadays really every touch point with the consumer needs to count.

So for me this touch didn’t count as very positively. I don’t want to say it was a totally negative touch. But it was definitely a “what’s going on here event?”

Now on the flipside, putting myself in the shoes of somebody who is still in touch with his dad, I likely would’ve had a different reaction: 

  • Thanks for the reminder that it’s Father’s Day. I forgot.
  • Oh yes that’s a great idea.
  • I am so thankful.

I’m thinking of Mother’s Day emails. American Airlines sends me a Mother’s Day reminder every year with the friendly note that I can send flowers 🌺 and earn airline points. Just about 100% of the time I will send flowers to my wife on my daughters behalf.

Maybe again it comes down to personalization of our messages. Personalization of content distribution has come a long way in recent years but it’s still a  ways from being perfect. For example, the message to thank your dad should only go to people who actually have a relationship or are in contact with their dads. 

Of course, how would a brand ever know that? It’s not something that typically comes up in conversation or transactions with a brand or wherever. In fact, I hardly ever talk about my dad. 

Related: Personalization on geography doesn’t always work 

I remember when I first started doing email marketing years ago and personalization of messages wasn’t always possible. So we wrote  around it and considered the different audiences that way. Sometimes that worked and sometimes it didn’t.

So it’s something to consider. How will the different segments of children react to a specific Father’s Day message? 

Either way, something to consider for your holiday messaging. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there. 

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One final note: This article as usual is meant to be a marketing thought piece. I’m not second-guessing my father’s decisions or even my own decisions as a child in here. But I’m using my own childhood experience and am applying them to current day email marketing techniques. That’s part of authentic storytelling.


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Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe and I'm the Vice President of Content Marketing Strategy, Americas, at ScribbleLive, which is based in Toronto and is a global content marketing software company. Before I started at ScribbleLive I was VP of Content Marketing and Conversion at MedTouch, a Boston-based company that helps healthcare organizations with digital marketing. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph ctrappe@christophtrappe.com 319-389-9853

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