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Breaking Up with an Email Subscription: How Oversaturation Can Ruin Relationships


Oh, Restoration Hardware. I thought you were out of my league, so at first I only admired you from afar. But then you drew me in with your gorgeous and overpriced merchandise. I was tempted down the email sign-up path, hoping to get a glimpse of great deals and exclusive sales. Or at least something I could afford to purchase that is larger than a raisin.

At first, everything was perfect. Your initial emails were image-heavy but beautifully designed. They promised a world of upper-class homogenization. They hinted at huge savings and limited-time offers. I held on with the hopes that I would one day be able to pay hundreds of dollars for a placemat made of solid gold.

Then, you got weird.

The emails turned into a daily occurrence. Like a seven-day series that culminated in the “Final Hours” message. You were relentless. And all I could think was “Who else are you harassing every day?” With an email list that surely boasts great numbers, are you stalking all of your customers every day? Say they bought something already. Do you think they really want a daily sales email after shelling out big bucks for merchandise? Have you heard of segmenting? Or targeting? Why aren’t you sending me emails about gold placemats?

I don’t expect answers, RH. I know that I’m just one person in a long line of your admirers. But in the business of online direct marketing, we know that oversaturating your email list is a dangerous marketing strategy. It dilutes your brand and fatigues your audience. And your giant images aren’t readable on mobile devices, which a large portion of your demographic is using. Think functionally attractive. Girl next door, not supermodel.

So I am left with only one decision. I’m leaving you. Unsubscribing from your cruel daily taunts. And though you give me the option of changing email frequency, it’s only as I am leaving you. Too little, too late, RH.

I can only hope that you learn something from this in the end. Hot and heavy may be exciting at the beginning of a relationship, but it gets really old, really fast. Slow your roll. Woo your audience. Put on your marketing thinking cap and go into things strategically. After all, we deserve more consideration, because you’re no cheap date.

Opting out,