Cross-promotion in email - Cousin to Spam?

I received this email today from Banana Republic, “4 stores, 1 checkout”. There has been a long history of cross-promotion between the Gap Inc. brands. Seems Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy and Piperlime have stopped flirting and settled on retail polygamy.  The apparent benefit to shoppers is one $7 flat rate shipping fee.

{ Subject line: Celebrate a New Way to Shop With Free Shipping }

cross promotion in email

I noticed a month ago all four brands had added this footer to their emails.

email footer

On the landing page there are four store tabs at the top making it easy to jump between each website.

landing page

Personally I shop at Banana Republic and less frequently Gap (Gap Body mostly), I have never purchased from Piperlime or Old Navy. In terms of brand association I do not see how Banana Republic benefits, it has a higher price point than Old Navy and Gap, does this bring it’s image down or theirs up?

As a consumer I dislike cross-promotion in email, it feels like Spam so it is. Giving another business access to my inbox is the same as lending them my email address. My trust in any company that does this goes down a notch, like when Abercrombie & Fitch started sending me emails from affiliated company, Ruehl, when I had not opted in.

Putting my email marketers hat back on, if handled gently introducing a new brand to your existing subscribers is too useful a tactic to pass up, so here’s a few good practices:

  • On your email sign up page never make it my job to unsubscribe from affiliate lists, leave the check-box clear.
  • Never send your subscribers email from an affiliated company without inviting them to opt-in first.
  • Add the affiliated company’s creative to your template and in your creative style, it’s going to be recognised and received better. Check out Daily Candy’s “Dedicated Emails“. The whole email is a paid for ad, I often cannot tell the difference between the sponsored and non-sponsored emails. The same copywriter, template and illustrations are used in both.
  • Only cross-promote products that will interest your subscribers. You would think this is obvious but I get off topic emails all the time.
  • Ease them into it - don’t send out an email that’s just a promotion for an unknown brand with your logo attached like we see here. Work it into a complimentary message, in this example Banana Republic does a better job of introducing Piperlime.

How do you feel about cross-promotion in email, what’s your level of tolerance?


Leave a comment: