Brands in the News

Diminishing Returns

28 Dec 2009  

The good people at Kohl’s would be wise to consider the law of diminishing returns and slow the pace of email promotions.

I’m always happy to sign up for promotional programs.  I sign up in part to learn about good deals.  But I mainly sign up to see what people are doing in terms of marketing efforts.  So a while back I signed up to get emails from Kohl’s.

This year it seems that Kohl’s has gone totally overboard with promotions.  So far in December I have received 22 emails from Kohl’s.  That is just about one email per day. 

They all have a similar style:

Tick Tock. Only 4 days left to save an extra 30%, 20% or 15%!

ENDS TODAY! Extra 15% or 20% Shopping Pass LAST DAY!

Extra 15% Off Everything + FREE Shipping! TUES. & WED. Only!

Kohl’s Cash-In Sale + Online-Exclusive Deals Starts today!

Save an EXTRA 30%, 20% or 15%

CLEARANCE + Lowest Prices on Power Hours & Extra 15% Off

There’s Still Time! Save up to 65% Off Last-Minute Gifts

When these emails started arriving I was tempted to read them.  But after a while the constant flow of great deals and big discounts became totally numbing.  Which deals are good deals?  Are any of them notable?  What is a good price at Kohn’s anyway?  I have absolutely no idea.

The only certain conclusion is that paying full price at Kohl’s is really a bad move.

Focus is a wonderful thing.  Next year Kohl’s would do well to focus on fewer, more distinctive offers.

2 Responses

  1. Tim Calkins says:

    Chris—Great point. I agree that Groupon is very compelling. The challenge for Groupon is to provide a series of unique and different offers so that it stays interesting, fresh and exciting.

  2. Chris Hare says:

    Thanks for this post Tim! Macy’s also seems to have “chronic on-sale disease”. On the flip-side one of the most brilliant moves I’ve seen of late is where local businesses offer discount coupons that only become active when a minimum number of people sign up and the clock is ticking. Each customer is given a unique URL that can then be sent out via Twitter, Facebook, etc. and you receive Groupon Bucks for each referral you bring. The psychology of it is brilliant. I became a believer and a customer on Day 1.

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