One Million Dollars From An Email

When you work with a new client, you do research on It. That’s what I do too. I was hired for a cruise conference.  As it was a new industry for me, I telephoned several different cruise line sales managers for insight. A question I always ask is do you know someone with a good marketing story? Every single one from Sun to Cunard to Royal Caribbean said call Bob and Beth Malcolm. So I did.

When I got Bob on the phone I said “Bob, tell me, what is your story? Why is everyone telling me to call you for a good marketing story?

Bob replied “Well Debbie, I think I know what you’re referring to, but first I need to take you back 15 years. When Beth and I started our travel agency in Brisbane we weren’t in a spot with foot traffic. We knew we had to do something different. We decided right from the start we were going to develop and keep a very good database. And we have. Now the story I think you’re referring to was when last year our cruise wholesaler gave us only two days’ notice before launching to the general public a unique cruise around Australia created with P & O lines.”


I said to Beth “Honey what should we do”? Beth replied simply “let’s send an email to our database.” So we went and pulled out everyone that had been on a 3-4 week cruise and everyone that had been on that specific ship. We sent them a plain text email, couple of paragraphs letting them know about the opportunity, saying if they booked now they had the choice of the entire ship and offering ½ price travel insurance.

“So how did you do Bob” I asked? “Within two days we booked 60 passages. We brought in $1,000,000 from that email.”

As we were about to hang up I said “Oh Bob, by the way, how many other travel agents in Australia could have done this? He said “The sad fact is Debbie, not even a handful”

P.S. Now I know what you’re thinking. 60 passages one million bucks. I’m in the wrong industry!

So what is the relevance?

  1. Speed to market
    If something like this happened in your industry, or you are planning a sale, how quickly can you get your message out to the market? Also how about the value add to their customers? Being the first in the world to know about a brand new cruise?
  2. Targeting
    How targeted can you be to your database? Beth didn’t send the email to everyone. They selected instead only the most likely candidates. This prevents them from burning their database. Can you target?
  3. Customer Service
    what do you think Beth and Bob’s customers thought of being the first in the world to know about this cruise?
  4. Thought to execution in 5 minutes
    What about if you had a quiet day or wanted to bring in more business and had an idea how to do it? Can you go from idea to execution in moments like beth and bob did? And finally
  5. Pennies
    How much are you spending on marketing? On advertising? This simple email campaign would have cost perhaps pennies.
  6. Database Goldmine
    Can you see that using your database cleverly, you can turn it into a goldmine?