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Mother's Day isn't always a happy occasion

Brands recognising that Mother’s Day isn’t always a happy occasion

More than a year into the pandemic, brands are reviewing their marketing strategies to pursue a more sensitive approach to Mother’s Day, in recognition that many people have lost their parents due to COVID-19. And it seems that consumers are responding well to this strategy, according to a recent poll.

In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day (May 9), several retailers, including online marketplace Etsy and bedding and linens retailer Parachute, offered their customers the option to “opt out” of Mother’s Day-related marketing.

Subscribers in Parachute’s email marketing list got an unexpected message in their inbox in April, asking them if they wanted to opt out of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day marketing materials. The occasions “can be sensitive times for many of us. So if you’d prefer not to receive emails about these holidays, you can opt out of them here,” the email said.

Online marketplace Etsy also sent an email that offered customers a similar opt-out option. “We understand that Mother’s Day can be a difficult time for some. If you’d rather not receive emails from us about Mother’s Day this year, let us know by removing yourself below,” the message said.

What customers think of these new tactics?

Consumers are poised to respond well to this strategy. According to an Ad Age-Harris Poll, 66% adults say they would have a better opinion of brands that allow for this option, and 29% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to purchase from such a brand. Roughly half, or 55%, of U.S. adults said they would choose to not receive any holiday-themed messaging.

The poll also found that opinions regarding Mother’s Day messaging could vary depending on age. Nearly half of Gen Z consumers, or 47%, said they would be more likely to buy from a brand promoting an opt-out option; 38% of millennials said the same.

A strategy behind the “opt-out” trend

This “opt-out” trend is not only about a brand being empathetic to its subscribers. It is about the consent it gets and the relationship it establishes with its current or potential customers. It’s also a “retention move” of subscribers that may get frustrated, hurt or triggered by a brand’s email.

According to Susan Dobscha, a marketing professor at Bentley University in Massachusetts, the emails offering customizable “opt-outs” represent “marketers finally realizing they can’t do this one-size-fits-all approach.”



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