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Category: Paula Skaper

GM's Pontiac G5 Contest Needs a Boost

On the theme of “major corporations missing the boat”: – I received an email promotion for a “GM Canada”: contest this morning that is a terrific example. The “email itself”: wasn’t bad once I downloaded the images but it was all downhill from there.
The email encouraged me to “Feel Energized” by entering to win a Pontiac G5. Heck, I’m as happy to win a new car as the next guy (or gal) but when I clicked through to the contest site I was treated to three distinct flash movies before I even had the chance to enter:
* First, a “feel energized” presentation that encouraged me to use my mouse, keyboard and speakers to “feel energized” but doing those things had no effect on the movie, just distracted me from what was on my screen. I wasn’t energized – I was bored and frustrated.
* Next I had the opportunity to “build my G5”. The process was cool once I figured out the somewhat obscure interface but I don’t know what it had to do with the contest – I don’t think that’s the G5 I’ll win. If it is, that wasn’t made clear.
* After I’d built my G5 I was taken to a photo gallery of G5 images that had nothing to do with the car I had just finished building.
* FINALLY I was taken to the contest entry page. The entry page required me to scroll down one full screen before I could find the actual form. And then, to add insult to injury, there was no opt-in anywhere. I was very courteously asked what language I’d prefer to receive further communications in, but not given the option to decline those communications. There was a line buried in the brief privacy statement at the bottom of the form stating that I could change my preferences simply by letting GM know – but no instructions on how I might do that and no, the phrase “let us know” doesn’t link to anything.


Canada Ripe For Online Picking

…At least according to “a report published today by Marketing Sherpa.”: And cultural differences extend to the online world – we’re more wired and we spend more time online than our neighbours to the south. We are, according to Marketing Sherpa, “an online market ripe for picking”. The challenges – two languages, tougher privacy laws, and lagging adoption of ecommerce. The opportunities – if you can get around the obstacles – a strong Canadian dollar that allows US retailers to be more competitive and a GDP worth over a trillion dollars. The report also contains some general suggestions for US companies marketing to Canadian consumers, including specific advice for email campaigns, search campaigns and postal direct mail.
While I agree wholeheartedly with much of the information presented, I have to say I’m not 100% on-side with the email numbers – our own client results differ significantly from those reported as “Canadian standard” email response rates. On the one hand, we would consider the 25% open rates reported in one section of the report concerningly low for a newsletter campaign. On the other hand, the 55% average reported by IAB seems optimistic given the limited budgets and resources most of our Canadian clients struggle with. Are the numbers out of context? It isn’t geographical – our client lists include subscribers from across the country. Even so, misleading numbers aren’t the real story here.

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