As an avid computer enthusiast, I subscribe to several email newsletters from hardware vendors. I always build my own systems from components, so I keep up to the minute with the latest and greatest parts as they are released. Surprisingly, my computer component retailers either don’t keep track of my purchases or don’t care to apply my behavior information to their campaigns, as I seem to receive exactly the same type of promotions no matter what I’ve just bought.

If I Just Bought a Processor, Why Offer Me the Same One Again?

Anyone with a modicum of common sense could look at my past behavior and determine a buying pattern: in every approximately 18-month cycle I build a state of the art system for myself, plus a mid-range system for a friend, plus buy a laptop. As the state of computer technology advances, I then replace them all in the next 18-month cycle. Therefore, I’m getting about one and a half years of use out of every system.

When I built my latest power-user system, the very next newsletter from the vendor featured the processor I had just purchased! My buying pattern for the past decade clearly shows I’m not a corporate IT volume buyer, so why would I need another one at least for another 18 months? The top processor of 2012 is only on the drawing boards now anyway. Wouldn’t it have been better to offer me information on the mid-range processor I am going to buy on behalf of my friend soon, or tantalize me with the latest laptops?

The Realtor Who Hands Over the Keys to the New House & Then Asks to List It

Many email marketers use their campaigns as bulldozers without taking into consideration the natural cycles of purchasing that their products fall into. If I’ve just purchased a new computer processor or a new hot tub or a new car, I’m not likely to succumb to an email offering me a deal on its replacement. Disregarding the product’s innate obsolescence and replacement period is like the realtor handing over the keys to a new house to the proud family, and then asking if they’re ready to list it and buy another one. Why not offer me accessories, options, or other ancillary products and services that I’m actually likely to buy?

My Last Purchase Did Not Include a Monitor: Why Not Offer Me a Deal on One?

A precursory analysis of my computer component purchase would have shown that I did not buy a monitor, printer, or speakers, as I carried them over from my last system. If the email offer had arrived targeting these components, I would have been far more likely to consider them for secondary purchase.

Consumers Are Not Going to Buy the Same Big-Ticket Items Back-to-Back

This concept applies to virtually every major product marketed, from refrigerators to big screen TVs to lawn tractors. Consumers are not about to make identical big-ticket item purchases back-to-back, no matter how much email marketers would want them to. Bombarding them with offers on products that they are not going to be ready to buy again for a year or more not only irritates them while insulting their intelligence, but also damages your brand’s reputation in their minds.

Email marketing is only truly effective when it is a conversation, not a broadcast. Showing callous insensitivity by continuing irrelevant buckshotting of email content will only succeed in making your valuable habitual customers feel like a number… and look elsewhere for their next purchase.