National Geographic image

Yesterday I got an email from National Geographic. This isn’t too weird since I am a subscriber. What’s weird is what the email was for. They were trying to make me a subscriber by offering a discounted price.

The problem is that I am already a subscriber! I already pay for the digital and paper copy of the magazine. Why the heck am I getting email ads for it?

This has two affects. One, there is 0 chance I will purchase the deal, seeing as I am already a customer and second it kind of annoys me because I know I paid more than that. It makes me feel like you don’t care about your current customers.

Now that’s a pretty bad issue but let’s take things a bunch further.

This tells me that somehow in your automated email system I am on two paths: a customer path and a potential customer path.

By doing this you are sending me twice the number of emails while also pissing me off.

Now if this was just me it’s not that big of a deal but if I somehow am under both and there are no rules that automatically fix this, it means there are potentially thousands of people getting twice the emails. This could be costing National Geographic and insane amount of money.

So here is tip #1 for National Geographic. Add one simple rule to both paths:

If starting customer path, add tag (customer path)

In potential customer path, continually check for tag

If customer path tag found, remove from potential path.

That rule could save you lots of money.

Now there is another problem. I am also being followed around the Internet with these same ads saying I paid too much for my subscription. Same issues as above, this could be costing the company a lot of money.

You can’t really do a rule as you are probably advertising on a whole bunch of different platforms.

What you can do is leverage a DMP. Have the DMP ingest the customer list from your email automation provider and then send that as an audience to Doubleclick or whatever you use for your programatic campaigns. Then set it as a negative audience. Meaning customers will never see that they are over paying AND you get the benefit of your advertising dollars only going to new prospects.

If you don’t want to invest in a DMP or don’t already have one, you can start by exporting a list of your current customers as a CSV and some platforms such as GDN through Adwords allow you to upload a customer list and set it as a negative. Facebook also has this option.

Regardless of which option you choose you get the added benefit of automatically created “similar to” lists that you can layer into your advertising to get more out of your spend.

Hope this helps.

Written on January 25, 2018