When a brand tries to attract your attention with a marketing email, it competes not only against rival companies, but against your entire world. Letters from friends and family, emails from work, receipts, and spam filters are all hurdles a brand must jump to achieve an email open.
In this quiz, you get to test apparel brands’ ability to differentiate themselves by seeing if you can guess which brand sent each email. If you successfully match the brand to the subject line, the email wins your attention and stays in the inbox! If you guess incorrectly, all the promotions end up in the trash, losing your attention as you receive another wave of offers.
Can you guess the brand from the email subject line?
Click the logo of the brand you think wrote each email.
Even though consumers cite irrelevant offers and excessive contact frequency as two of the top three pain points in their email relationships with retail brands, discount offers still account for the majority of marketing emails sent by retailers in Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail US. In our report on discount emails, we looked at 98,197 marketing email campaigns sent by 100 specialty retail brands between April 2017 and March 2018. Generic subject lines advertising discounts were the most common, despite being associated with the lowest open rate (16%). By comparison, product discovery and automated engagement emails yielded open rates of 20% and 31%.
To add insult to injury, apparel brands tend to use generic language in their discount-related subject lines. Subject lines by Gap, Express, and Abercrombie & Fitch can be impossible to tell apart.
What’s the outcome of this copy-cat syndrome? Consumers disengage, even if the discount is compelling as an economic transfer of value. We found that brands using differentiated language in their discount email subject lines achieved a 13.7% lift in open rate over those that used more generic language.
This makes clear that brands need to leverage CRM data to send relevant, targeted offers enhanced with other value propositions. That way, they can reach the right customers with the right offers, at the right time.
The interactive below shows each retailer's open rate against the uniqueness of its subject lines:
Gartner L2 processed 44,203 discount subject lines, calculating uniqueness scores for each brand based on the proximity of its language to language used by other Index brands.
Highlighted data points are brands mentioned in this quiz. Hover over each data point to view.
Source: Gartner L2 analysis of eDataSource data.
Less is More
lululemon athletica — a brand that is sparing with discounts — was among the brands with the most distinct discount subject lines. For the 11 detected discount campaigns by lululemon, the brand did not call out percent-off offers explicitly. Instead of putting the punch line in the subject line, lululemon entices its customers to open discount emails with differentiated and suggestive language, leaving them to discover the value of the discounts in the bodies of the emails.