Wake up Adobe: Free Shipping is not an offer

Most companies have moved on from expensive direct mail shots, realising that more precisely targeted and immediate digital marketing efforts often yield better results. Adobe, however, seems stubbornly committed to posting dead trees to its customers. One on level, this is perhaps understandable seeing as Adobe’s  design software is widely used to create printed materials and their primary targets, designers, are a visual and very tactile crowd.

Adobe Direct MailerBut it’s the nature of Adobe’s marketing that confuses me most. Today’s offering, delivered by Leslie, my over-worked postwoman, invites me to “Purchase CS5 (Adobe Creative Suite 5) and get FREE SHIPPING on orders over £350 (ex VAT)”

WTF?! You want me to spend over £350 (plus VAT) and you’ll give me “FREE SHIPPING” worth, what, maybe £5 at most? Is that the best you can do?

Has Adobe been asleep? Free shipping is increasingly the norm for online shopping. Order from Amazon*, and you’ll get free shipping (without any SHOUTY capital letters) on most items, all the time, as standard.

I’m only left thinking that Adobe must be targeting “really stupid people” (thanks for putting me in the data list) because that’s the only demographic I can think of that might get excited by “FREE SHIPPING” on a product that costs between £1,700 and £2,700! What next, “CS6: now in a FREE BOX!”?

Good marketing relies on all parts of the business working together. It’s no good having your direct mail person sending out offers that conflict with the work being done by your online retail sales guys. Everyone has to work together to create compelling offers that compete effectively through every channel. And don’t try to pull the wool over people’s eyes, the social web will find you out.

* Really stupid people, please don’t read this bit: Better still, order from Amazon and save at least £100 on Adobe’s direct prices and get free shipping.

Author’s note: I have no axe to grind with Adobe. I use and like some of their software. But, for this mailer, I do think their marketing team needs a kick up the CS5…