DM News' EssentialGuide to E-Mail Marketing: Fossil Keeps Revenue Ticking Along

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Fossil, best known for its vintage-inspired timepieces, also offers leather goods, collectibles, clothes and sun wear. To promote the offerings, the company relies on permission-based e-mail marketing services firm Silverpop, Atlanta, to provide strategy and insight as well as technology to handle its e-mail marketing campaigns.

The companies implemented a "Welcome Series" of e-mails to introduce customers to Fossil's products. The first of four messages defines Fossil's brand while the second positions watches as an accessory, not just a tool. The third showcases the full line of products. The fourth e-mail aims to solidify the relationship, turning customers into fans.

This last e-mail of the series includes a survey that asks customers what they want from Fossil: watches, purses, sun wear or other accessories. The survey subtly reminds customers of the breadth of Fossil's product offerings. Plus, responses help Fossil manage product offerings better.

The list management systems from Silverpop let Fossil marketers segment lists based on product preferences. For example, selections of the newest styles of purses in the $100 price range would be sent to the 27-year-old woman who recently purchased a $200 watch rather than the 20-year-old with an obvious love for all things denim in prices under $20.

Fossil segments its lists and tests to determine the best day and time to send e-mails to customers. The company tests subject lines, the optimum number of items on a page and the best position for the navigation bar. Then it takes testing a step further.

Fossil uses e-mail to evaluate customer response to new products, monitoring the pace of product sales through the channel and using the results to gain better insights into products warranting additional marketing dollars. So a watch design that does particularly well in an e-mail campaign might get a more prominent placement on Fossil's Web site at

Talking to customers one on one is paying off. The company has seen each month's e-mail marketing revenue nearly triple versus the year-ago month. Open rates increased 54 percent, and conversion rates climbed 84 percent. Fossil now attributes 20 percent of its marketing revenue to e-mail marketing.

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