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No Junk Mail, Thank You.


In order to analyze email marketing strategy, the assignment from my Digital Marketing class instructed by Joanne Borek at NYU, I decided to go to my Gmail inbox which is 40% overwhelmed by junk mails. I have three email accounts and the degrees of being stuffed by junk mail are: NYU email (2%); Gmail (40%); Hotmail (80%). It’s too painful to look at my Hotmail inbox which has almost become a trash can, so I chose to review my Gmail. I use Gmail as the email for friends outside the US and for brands which I ever purchased from or have interest in their information.


Subject Title: “chih hsuan: recommendations for you”
Frequency: Biweekly
Type of Email: Product info and offers
Intended Audience: eBay users who have done purchases before
From Address: eBay <>
Call To Action: Link to the product page

I bought a textbook from eBay in January this year and since then I have been receiving “Recommendation” emails every two weeks. Usually, I ignore this type of email if I am not in the mood of buying something or, for the real reason, I don’t believe in their recommendation at all! But for this assignment, I opened my first recommendations-for-you email and was hoping they would give me some really great recommendations. My hope came true at the first glance, they suggests something similar to my previous purchase <Practicing Leadership-3rd Edition>  And disappointment follows as I continue reading…as expected.


The second part of the email is other promoted deals. The title “Deals on what you’ve been looking for” fooled me a little bit at first because I thought they tracked on what I searched on eBay but it turns out those are just promoted products such as Samsung galaxy note II. Below it are some popular picks, but again, those are not categories I am interested in (ex: Tablet, Coffeemaker, Drill) I wish they’d recommended better products based on my interests.



Subject Title: Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Webster Hall! Find tickets and more..”
Frequency: Weekly
Type of Email: Newsletter, weekly events guide
Intended Audience: Subscribers in NYC
From Address: Eventful <>
Call To Action: Get ticket, view details, and link to third party’s ads

Here is the great email I got from eventful, a website gathers information and tickets for events. Since I signed up on Eventful using NYC location, I am on the list of NYC targeted email campaign. What I like about the email most is the colorful visual layout. The beautiful background picture on the top of this email caught my eyes immediately, with the Call To Action on the right bottom “Explore RVs”. I was attracted by the photo so I actually clicked on the button and linked to Go RVing website. Yes, it is a third party advertisement that Go RVing paid to be placed in Eventful emails. There is an article saying Go RVing’s media plan has targeted on popular sites, including, to draw leads. Even though it is an advertisement and I am not going to rent a RV, I was still pleased by looking at those pretty mountains and picnic photos.


In the center is the subject content of this email, the concert for the American indie rock band Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Again, on the right side we can see Go RVing square banner ad. What I like about the content is that it gives enough information before I click to the landing page. I can see brief introduction of this band, time and location of the concert. Below Yeah Yeah Yeahs are other famous bands who will be having concerts in the coming months. In case you are not a fan of these bands, on the right you might find interesting events in your favorite venues and theaters.


Also, I like those Call To Actions which are clear and diverse. It includes almost all the features you can find on Eventful website, such as “Find ticket”, “Demand it”, “Look for local events”, and “Add performers to your list”. In general, the layout is similar to its website layout and is visually successful.



Subject Title: It’s time for some love & lots of discounts!
Frequency: weekly-biweekly
Type of Email: discount offers
Intended Audience: Subscribers in India areas
From Address: MakeMyTrip <>
Call To Action: “Book now” link to buy tickets

This is the email I received from Make My Trip, an online travel agency headquartered in Delhi, India. I singed up as a member when I was interning in New Delhi last year. After one year, until now I still get their emails every one or two weeks. Make My Trip sent this email about its bus ticket offers on Feb. 12, two days before Valentine’s Day. The campaign theme corresponds with Valentine’s Day by choosing “Bus Love” as the offer’s name. I love the cute love bus surrounded by many hot hearts! Besides that, I think it is creative to arrange the copy next to the bus in a heart shaped display. By clicking the icons on the top, you will be linked to flight, hotel, or other pages. On the top right corner subscribers can follow the brand on social websites.


However, with the appealing email style and my personal great experience with the brand, I rarely opened the offer emails they sent to me. First, Make My Trip keeps sending me emails each month even it is not the season for trips. The differences between offers from travel agency and other retailers is that, travel agencies have to be more sensitive to timing. For example, I am more likely to open weekly offers email from Target  because I am always in the mood or need to buy some potato chips, toilet papers or change my towels. The other reason makes me always ignore Make My Trip emails is that they don’t know me well! It’s been one year since I left India but they keep sending me tickets to Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai, etc. I am wondering if they could know my location by tracking from where I open the email. For example, if I go to their website, they can detect my IP address and direct me to USA website. If they can do the same for email without me manually changing my location, they can obtain a better Open Rate.


Finally, email marketing is still a growing and useful marketing tool but it’s important for marketers to create nutritious content and keep updating customer data. Now, I am going to clean up my Gmail and start unsubscribing…


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Find some reasons for being shopaholic- Shopkick


I love shopping in retailer stores but sometimes I feel guilty for spending too much time and money on it. With the app, Shopkick, I found a reason for shopping, that is, to save more money and treat myself while shopping. “In 2012, Nielsen rated Shopkick the 4th most widely used shopping app – behind Amazon, eBay and Groupon.”

Treat yourself while shopping

How does it work? Shopkick is a shopping rewards program with no plastic cards, no confusing rules, no applications to fill out, and even no purchase required. With this shopping app in their smartphone, consumers can rack up points called “kicks” while waking into their favorite stores such as Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, Crate&Barrel, Old Navy, American Eagle, Toys”R”Us, Exxon and Mobil convenience stores. Other alliance brands include Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Intel, HP, Disney, Sony, Colgate, Clorox, etc. Users can also collect “kicks” by browsing catalog, scanning products, and making purchase. Collected “kicks” can be redeemed for various rewards such as gift cards,  iTunes song downloads, movie tickets, and more. Shopkick is available for iOS and Android devices.

Shopkick in numbers

Since launching in August 2010, by Feb. 2013 Shopkick has acquired 4 million users and has driven more than 17 million verified walk-ins to stores, 29 million product scans and millions of transactions. It announced its first profitable quarter in Q4 2012, generating $200 million in revenue for its merchant and brand partners. Shopkick’s users viewed more than 1 billion products in the app within three months since it launched the new version, shopkick 3.0, in Oct. 2012. With it, each user viewed over 100 products  per day compared to 5-8 products per


Users can exchange “kicks” for gift cards, a free Starbucks latte, Facebook Credit, movie tickets,  or designer merchandise. What’s more, they can choose to donate their kicks to non-profits! Here tells you how much $ a kick is worth.

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Walk-In & Barcode Scanner kicks

When users walk in certain stores, shopkick will automatically send you a notification of kicks to collect. Instead relying on GPS triangulation,  shopkick created a highly accurate inaudible audio signal that can be detected by smartphones that have the app installed. The audio signal is either broadcast through a small transmitter in the store, or played directly through the store’s existing music system. Besides that, users can use built-in camera in the app to scan the product barcode to gain extra kicks.

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Link to your credit card photo 5 (1)

Users can link their Visa or MasterCard to shopkick app and collect  additional kicks when make a purchase using this registered card. Simply filling in credit card info on the app, you can gain 1 kick for every $1 spent or more bonus kicks if purchasing more than certain amount.

Find kicks waiting nearby

By using your current location, shopkick map shows you available kicks around you. The signs below each store tell you what kind of kicks you can collect, for example, the little blue means walk-in, bar code means scan products, and card means card payment.

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 Mark favorite Items on Lookbooks

photo 3A great new feature that allows users to plan shopping beforehand is the “Lookbooks“. It’s an at-a-glance look at what’s inside each store. Users can browse the latest picks and deals, and save favorite items to the list. Next time when they walk in the store, those items will pop out and remind what products they liked a few days ago. The info icon on the bottom right will give you more details such as price and promotion date.

Unlock kicks for next walk-in

One of the features that I like most is to unlock a catalog and gain extra kicks. On the welcome page we can see some kicks that are locked. Tapping on the lock, you will see a few catalogs. As you view more pages on the catalog, the lock bar on the top will increase and finally the kicks will be unlocked which you can redeem when next time walking into the store. It actually drives people to plan their shopping trips at home, and more more products viewed at home means more kicks earned at walk-in. According to Shopkick, 52 percent users build up walk-in kicks at home.

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Benefits for retailers and brands?

For consumers, it is a useful app which helps them to save time and earn rewards from shoppings. As for retailers and brands, what kind of benefits  are they looking for? First, it drives more traffic to physical stores. Second, promotion campaigns are incorporated with kicks on shopkick which enables brands to reach more consumers. Besides, it boosts purchases on certain categories that retailers want to promote. For example, in order to find the products to scan, consumers are led to some aisles they rarely go to such as Lawn &Garden, retailer private labels, etc. Finally, it generates interaction and relationship with customers. Below is the example of SONY encouraging customer engagement.

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P.S. After Target and American Eagle’s nationwide rollouts, Macy’s has also introduced Shopkick into more than 7,000 stores and 250 U.S. malls.