I recently saw this gem from Business Insider and Trunk Club –
Full email text here.
Business Insider speaks to business professionals about business, but over time they have expanded the scope of their blog to address their reader’s varied interests. It is not uncommon to read a Business Insider article on top Emmy fashion after reading an article on Alibaba’s IPO.
Recently acquired by Nordstrom for $350mm, Trunk Club is essentially a personal shopping service for male business professionals. For a price they will send you custom curated outfits at a predefined frequency.
I love this marketing execution for 3 reasons:
1. Excellent Subject Line – “Instant MBA: Here’s How Your Clothing Affects Your Success”
Many newsletters sit in inboxes in an unopened state never to be opened – this subject line is too enticing to allow for this newsletter to remain in such a state for long.
Career-minded business professionals are going to make time to read this newsletter from BI. They are intimately aware of the fact that career success is a function of many variables – and this subject line introduces a dissonance that most will want to resolve – namely, whether or not they are dressing in a way that will hinder their success.
2. Excellent Content
Business Insider gets to the “how you dress matters” point very quickly. The expert opinion is introduced in the 2nd sentence! This means that people who open this newsletter will actually read it. The “open” battle is a precursor to the engagement battle (both literally and figuratively, because marketers will probably be cursing if readers don’t actually engage with their content after opening it) – this newsletter conquers on both fronts.
The reader of this content is given quick introspection-provoking guidelines to help them to dress for success. 1 minute read. Beautiful.
3. Excellent Ad
The reader, in a mindset of introspection, then sees this gem of an ad letting them know that Trunk Club is “the ‘I want to look good on casual fridays too’ Trunk”. Business Insider sets the context, Trunk Club delivers on the relevant insight.
And what a beautiful consumer insight it is. Absolutely beautiful. Those 11 words capture the hearts of every professional who is a little bit insecure about how they present themselves when not wearing a suit/shirt and tie.
Who doesn’t want to look good on Casual Fridays? The average person can figure out Monday through Thursday, but Friday can prove challenging for some. Trunk Club can help you look good every day of the week, including Friday. Excellent insight. Excellent Messaging. Excellent placement. Overall, an excellent execution.
Until next time.
P.S./Aside – Although I wouldn’t mind having awesome clothes sent to me, I don’t think I’m in the Trunk Club target. I reside somewhere near the intersection of high fashion taste and surprisingly low item prices. I like buying my own clothes and I love seeing a huge price difference between MSRP and what I ultimately pay.
People who are like me in this respect made up the majority of JC Penny’s addressable market and this critical “savings seeker” attribute is the reason why JC Penny didn’t do well when they made the shift away from a sales/discounts/coupons pricing model to an everyday low price model.
Everyday low prices don’t feel as good as sales for some because there is something truly special and magical about feeling like you got a deal at the retailer’s expense. Paying $50 for an item marked $100, feels objectively better for the shopper than paying $45 for the same item in the absence of a sign that reads “sale”.
In a space where value is highly subjective, shoppers need experts to tell them, through branding and pricing (which some could argue is a derivative of branding), what the items are worth. Apart from this kind of signaling, shoppers will have a diminished capacity for appreciating the value of what they’re buying.
In short – everyday low prices made JC Penny’s customers less happy.
Under new leadership and with renewed pressure from investors, JC Penny has shifted back to their old strategy.