Weber Hits, Then Whiffs
By Ken Magill
While checking my email recently, the content of one of the messages caused me to make a sort of guttural "mmMMMmm" noise.
"Weber?" said my wife, who happened to be standing by.
"Yeah," I said. "How’d you know?"
"You made a Weber noise," she said.
Indeed, I had made a Weber noise. It was in response to an emailed recipe for rib eye steaks with chipotle butter.
Weber-Stephens Products has been sending me a recipe every Friday for several years now ever since I bought a refurbishing kit for a Weber Genesis grill. There are two important points to be made here: 1) Weber’s recipe-of-the-week email is one of my favorites, if not my favorite. 2) I never gave Weber permission to send me email.
So in this case, relevancy certainly did trump permission. I make easily half the recipes Weber sends me. My wife and I are big-time cooks. We consider making the same meal twice akin to going to the same restaurant twice in New York City. Why do the same meal/restaurant twice when the alternatives are so wonderfully endless?
Admittedly, we do have a couple of family favorites, Mozambique fire shrimp with Pili Pili sauce over Aunt Rhoda’s dirty rice from Rick Browne’s ‘Grilling America’ being one.
In any case, the Weber recipe-of-the-week email is also perfectly timed. It arrives every Friday afternoon right when the wife and I are starting to think about what to cook during the weekend.
All good, right?
Well, not really.
After receiving Weber’s weekly emails for something like three years now, I have made no new purchases as a result. My Weber recency-and-frequency stats are a direct marketer’s nightmare.
And I buy grill gadgets all the time whether I need them or not. The recipe-of-the-week email is the perfect setting for enticing me to buy the newest meat flipper, grill cleaner or seafood searer. But no, Weber avoids the weekly cross-sell for whatever reason.
And what is more, when Weber did pitch me in an email—the one I can remember, anyway—the pitch was off target.
With my purchase of a refurbishing kit, Weber knows three things about me: I have a high-end gas grill, I have used the crap out of it, and I intend to use the crap out of it some more.
So when they finally get around to pitching me, what do they offer? Deals on products to enhance my 22-inch charcoal grill: a grill I don’t own. And what I do own is easily discernable by what is in Weber’s database.
A horrendous marketing mistake? Certainly not. But it is a shame to think of all the selling opportunities lost as a result of failing to pitch in those Friday recipe emails and failing to do some simple segmentation when they do decide it’s time to pitch.
Author’s note: For those who are curious, here is a link to the rib eye steak recipe. It has everything I look for: fat, heat and meat.