“We are not ambulance chasers, people leave our stores empty handed every day and we don’t feel the need to beg them to come back so why should online be any different?”

If anyone takes the time to read these words, I would love your feedback. RedEye has a series of clients that make a hell of a lot of money and ROI from behaviourally targeted and automated emails.

But we were blown away recently when a prospect said that they would never do trigger emails or basket abandonment work because they perceived it as the e-marketing equivalent of ‘ambulance chasing’!? Ouch!!

My initial reaction was invective! “Buffoon” (or similar such outburst). But it has been nagging in the back of my mind since.

So, my question is: Is there any angle at which this emarketing manager for a well known high street retail chain has a point?

Some thoughts occur to me. Firstly, is this a business or a game of sodding scruples? I know a number of successful business people who are not adverse to a spot of begging if it might help!

But, that is not the point; no begging should be involved. If someone leaves your store and then, before entering a competitor’s outlet, sees a poster saying, ‘Hi Jane/John, you just came in our shop but didn’t see this, and based on your purchasing and browsing history, we think you might like it’, isn’t that just clever marketing, trying to drive a repeat visit, ‘clever email’ even?

Repeat visitors are 3-5 times more likely to buy than first time shoppers. Do we, as emarketers, just ignore that fact?

And isn’t it actually just perfect direct marketing; right message, right person, right time?

Get it wrong, I suppose, and it can be ugly, intrusive, annoying. But get any marketing wrong and it has the same effect. Get it right and customers feel important and perceive at a subconscious level that the brand is thinking about them.

So, let me put some scenarios to you. I am browsing for a holiday and I save my booking whilst I consider it.

A week later I receive an email reminding me about the holiday I saved. Intrusive? Or the prompt I need to get that holiday booked. In my experience up to 20% see it as a valuable prompt.

I drop out of a basket, irritated at shipping costs. 24 hours later I get an email offering me free shipping based on the fact that I have ordered regularly over the last 12 months? Annoying, or good customer service?

Okay, I am stating the case for the defense, but I would, wouldn’t I? Your call…