12.12.2010

Columbia Revisited

Last week, I wrote a review about a QR Code campaign that Columbia, the outdoor sportswear company, is doing, and I wanted to follow up that post with one other item.

Over the weekend, I received an email from Columbia asking me for a review of the product, a pair of ski mittens, that I recently purchased on-line. (This is the product that came in the QR Code labeled box, which was written about last week.) While this product review request email has nothing to do with the QR Code campaign that was written about last week, I believe it does have strategic marketing implications and merits worth mentioning. For all of the products that I have purchased online, never have I been asked for a product review in this manner, which I believe is terrific.

The review request email came about 10 to 14 days after I received the ski mittens, plenty of time for me to have potentially used them and formed an opinion about them. While the timing makes a great deal of sense, so does the fact that the email brings me straight to the product page to leave the review on, just by clicking a button in the email. I don't have to take the time to go back to the company's website and find the product page on my own, if I ever wanted to follow up and write a review in the first place.

This review request campaign reminds me of something that I learned a long time ago while conducting financial services marketing...approximately 7 out of 10 people would provide a product or service referral, but only 3 out of 10 people are ever asked. Here Columbia asks for a review (referral), plain and simple, and that's the most they can do. I did not write a review, although I would have, because the mittens were a gift, which brings me to one tactical element of this campaign possibly worth changing. During the check-out process, I do not recall seeing a check box asking if this purchase was meant a a gift. If there was such a box, and it was checked, then Columbia would know not to contact the purchaser for the review, but might ask the purchaser to forward the review request to the gift recipient.

Overall, I mention this email campaign, because it is a worth while tactical element for most any company to include in their overall marketing and sales strategy, whether it's based on- or off-line. We, as marketers, know the power and meaning of a product review, so why not take the time, or make the excuse, to re-engage with a customer and ask for one.

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