Recently marketers and consumers alike have been enjoying the creative element behind Groupon’s unsubscribe campaign ‘Punish Derrick’.

If you click on the unsubscribe link, it then it leads you to a page which enables you to punish the person who has been sending you your emails, Derrick.

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The concept of humanising the person who is sending you emails, adding some comedy and creating engagement is very clever, especially as you are asked to reconsider your opt in after inflicting pain on Derrick.

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On the surface this looks like a good mechanic for keeping subscribers. In fact, the unsubscribe page is something that has recently made a resurgence with many brands trying to save their marketing lists from diminishing or at least trying to understand preferences and offering links to social media or options to redefine preferences.

There’s no denying the intelligence behind Groupon’s campaign and that they have most definitely saved a few subscribers; but does an entertaining opt out mechanic mean you can forgive a brand for spam, irrelevant emails or whatever reason it is that you’re leaving them? 

Probably not, and the reason that drove the decision to opt out has not been addressed. You could question a contact’s motive for not unsubscribing after viewing the Punish Derrick page. I’d assume it might be distraction rather than anything else.

This campaign merely plays on the conscience, and any subscriber is still at risk from email fatigue. So should you even bother to try to keep a subscriber who has clicked the fateful unsubscribe button? Yes of course.

They had an interest before but something is driving them to opt out. The intelligent next step would be to communicate and engage with such a group and learn the reasons behind their decision to opt out.

This insight should then drive segmented communications and intelligence to inform the bigger marketing strategy to try and prevent further churn.
But in an ideal world of course, I would argue, brands should really focus on preventing them getting there in the first place.

Email fatigue can be a tricky topic to deal with, as one size does not fit all:

  • Are you sending emails too often?
    Optimum frequency really depends on the buying cycle of your product or service. If you’re promoting cars, a purchase typically made every few years, and emailing your contacts daily then it’s fair to say you’re overdoing it.
  • Assess your purchase cycle 
    Base your communications strategy on an appropriate level of contact with appropriate relevance.
    Are your subscribers engaged in your emails? If you’ve sent one hundred emails in the last year and a contact has never opened or clicked on a single one you need to assess your email content.
  • Apply the principles of marketing to your email marketing programme.
    Relevant content will drive higher engagement and keep subscribers interested in hearing more from your brand.
  • Recognise a jumper before they jump 
    If you analyse the profile of those unsubscribing, recognise trends and alert yourself when others follow this path then you can prevent them reaching from having to make the decision to punish Derrick in the first place.