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This past weekend I bought a new pair of sunglasses (… after losing my old pair that I held dear to my heart…) so I went to Lens Crafters and tried on every pair they had in the store. Then I tried them all on again (…what can I say, I’m picky!).

After finding a pair that I liked and getting the very important thumbs-up from my wife to make sure they actually looked good, I purchased them.

During the check-out process the salesperson at the store asked me a bunch of questions. I could see their screen as they scrolled through all the fields such as name, address, phone number, etc, etc.

Then, I noticed on their screen that it said “Email Address” and something to the effect of “Ask the customer if they would like to join our mailing list to receive updates from us?”

At first I was very impressed with Lens Crafters. It was clear that the higher-ups in the corporation saw the obvious value of building an email mailing list, knew to ask for the email address alongside other information, and even made sure to script things clearly to ensure they received proper opt-in consent to send mailings.

As I watched the salesperson’s screen, I saw her skip over the email section completely!
(In my head, I could hear the higher-ups at Lens Crafters groaning!)

I asked her “Why did you skip over the email address stuff?”

Her response was “Oh, you wouldn’t want to give us your email address because then we’d just send you stuff and people don’t want that.”

Yes, seriously! That is what she said.

First of all, we conduct research studies all the time and people are more than willing (and often times eager) to get emails from businesses they interact with. Heck, if Lens Crafters would have emailed me a coupon a few months ago, I probably would have gone out and bought a new pair of sunglasses right away.

Secondly, I think this situation highlights a major communication and strategy breakdown at Lens Crafters, which is an excellent way for everyone else to learn from their mistakes.

Lens Crafters had made a good strategic decision to really focus on building their email mailing list by asking people right at the peak moment of engagement, which is when they are buying something in their store. The problem is that this strategy came from “upstairs” and was not adopted by everyone else in the organization. This essentially dooms the strategy to fail or, at the very least, to not achieve the maximum results.

It is very important that if your organization is going to adopt a strategy like this, you need adoption from all levels in order to really make it work.

I find one of the best ways to help ensure adoption is to tell people not only what the new strategy is, but WHY they are doing that. I highly doubt the salesperson I was working with at Lens Crafters fully knew or appreciated why getting my email address was important. But, maybe if she was told that by me getting emails, I would be more informed about their products (including features, benefits, price, etc, etc), which would result in me needing to ask less questions in the store. Now the salesperson would understand that getting my email benefits them, benefits me, and benefits the company. At this point there is likely to be higher adoption to the overall strategy.

Of course, if would be nice if adoption was at 100% just because the people “upstairs” said so and in many organizations it may be like that. But, before you make that assumption for your business, be sure to check that everyone is on the same page and shooting towards the same goal.


This past weekend I was browsing through a Break.com picture gallery (…very funny stuff!) when I stumbled upon a really interesting “Join Our Mailing List” type advertisement.

I’m a big fan of asking people in-store to join your mailing list as I believe that can be a key growth driver of your mailing list (in addition to online signups from your website, Facebook page, etc).

Over the years, I’ve seen all sorts of incentives to get people to join your mailing list. Often there are ads to be entered in a draw for a certain prize, to win a free lunch, etc, etc.

But, this Godfather’s Pizza add puts a whole new spin on it…

Godfather's Pizza: "Join Our Mailing List" Ad

I’m usually the first one to praise the amazing limitless possibilities of email marketing, but in this case, I think things may have been pushed too far. I think I can admit that where email marketing falls short is in delivering you a “free medium pizza by email”. I wonder if that pizza via email would be hot when it gets to me? Can I order other toppings on this ‘pizza by email’ or is a basic cheese pizza the only one that transmits nicely through cyberspace?

Let this be a lesson to everyone…
Driving mailing list growth in-store = GREAT!
Offering to send a pizza by email = REQUIRES MORE THOUGHT (and maybe a new flyer!)

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