Two floral heavyweights go head-to-head in direct marketing comparison

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Two floral heavyweights go head-to-head in direct marketing comparison
Two floral heavyweights go head-to-head in direct marketing comparison
“1-800-Flowers updates their Facebook page content frequently. They're currently running a sweepstakes; they have weekly giveaways and offer a 20% discount when you become a fan of the page, and they used the page to promote their recent ‘America's most celebrated birthday' event in New York City,” says Durig. “They even have a Guy's Guide to Flowers tab. All reasons for fans to keep coming back to the page and to keep 1-800-Flowers top of mind.”

While ProFlowers does make use of its Facebook page by offering discount codes around holidays and some free downloadable items, Durig points out in early October that the last time it had updated any content was on July 29.

When it comes to how each uses Twitter, Durig says there is no comparison. “1-800-Flowers tweets on a regular basis — on some days, multiple times a day,” she says. “ProFlowers tends to use their Twitter page as a customer service page to help resolve customer complaints and issues. Its last tweet was in May.”

Both brands, though, are experimenting with new technologies to better reach customers. This year, ProFlowers.com ran a Mother's Day promotion on Farmville, letting users earn virtual cash if they accepted an offer to send real flowers. 1-800-Flowers also allows customers to place orders through Facebook, and it has m-commerce in place with Blackberry, iPhone and Android applications.

Eric Best, chairman and CEO of Mercent Corporation, an online marketing technology and services company notes that 1-800-Flowers was one of the first to provide e-commerce to consumers on Facebook. “It was a very high-profile initiative, and I think it has served them well,” he says. “They have been very aggressive in these two high-growth areas.” 

In terms of branding, 1-800-Flowers' name trumps Proflowers.

“First of all, they make it easy for you to pick up the phone or to go to a website. It's baked into their name,” says Scott Markman, president of The Monogram Group, an advertising and branding agency. “Their brand identity as executed through every touch point that I have seen — their website, an e-mailer, social media – is extraordinarily consistent, attractive and sophisticated, and the communications are clear.”

ProFlowers isn't one to be left behind, though. The Nielsen Company's August 2010 rankings of top online retailers based on the number of purchases placed ProFlowers.com at No. 62, ahead of 1-800-Flowers which ranked in 80th place. Consumer-facing TopTenReviews, though, picked 1-800-Flowers as its top online flower provider in terms customer service, product variety, delivery and price, ahead of the No. 3 ProFlowers.

Brand Champion

There isn't a large divide separating the two floral companies' direct marketing efforts, because both are making use of both classic and new tenets of the field. Yet, 1-800-Flowers appears more willing to aggressively embrace the newer mobile and social techniques. Its loyalty program and “mobile” flowers resonate well. ProFlowers.com tends to fly further under the radar, yet clearly resonates with customers. Still, in terms of marketing and branding prowess, 1-800-Flowers is edging its younger competitor out of the way.

*Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to Atmosphere Proximity as a BBDO-owned agency. Atmosphere Proximity is part of the BBDO network and both are owned by Omnicom. We regret the error.

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