Now… this is exciting! We have been alpha and beta testing our newest competitive insight module, Overlap Tracker, and continue to get feedback regarding intended and unintended usage as we show this to clients and prospects. First off, many companies may be surprised to see who they are competing with when it comes to the inbox.


One of the first big surprises was with Virgin America, who we met briefly in January when they were presenting at the Email Experience Counsel in Florida. Their marketing in email, as well as in other channels, is based on identifying American Airlines and US Airways as their main competitors because they overlap the most with Virgin America’s routes. We can confirm that American Airlines was actively marketing to 15.0% of Virgin America’s subscribers and that US Airways was actively marketing to 14.4% of them.


The stunning revelation, however, was that Southwest Airlines was marketing to almost 38% of Virgin America’s subscribers and that Delta Air Lines was marketing to nearly 24% of them, both probably in the most competitive markets. Virgin America isn’t addressing this fact at all and was completely taken by surprise that these major airlines are regularly communicating to a huge portion of their subscribers.


We ran into another interesting situation looking at the competition that some of the high-end brands are facing in the fashion industry. One might, for example, think that Barneys New York would be a major competitor of Saks Fifth Avenue and that Saks customers might generally have a significant luxury brand preference. But, only about 7% of Saks subscribers also receive email from Barneys. Neiman Marcus, however, does have significant overlap with Saks at 21.9%, slightly below the overlap with Nordstrom at 25.2%.

Wal-Mart and Target have similar overlap percentages as Neiman Marcus at 19.8% and 17.7%, respectively, and Macy’s comes in at 14.1%. There also seems to be a significant number of bargain hunters on the Saks subscriber list, judging from the fact that 14.7% subscribe to receive DSW emails and 13.8% signed up for Bluefly emails.


Surprisingly, we are also finding that the analysis gives great insight into category affinity and even certain psycho-graphic results that we could uncover as we dig further into the data. For example, I really thought that Fredrick’s of Hollywood would have more than a 2.5% share of the Victoria’s Secret subscriber list. I also thought that we might find some other “intimates” companies significantly represented amongst the subscribers.

That was not the case at all. However, we did find that a significant percentage of the list receives emails from Bath & Body Works (19.6%), Sephora (13.7%) and Ulta (6.2%). I guess that crushes the theory once and for all that only men subscribe to Victoria’s Secret emails.


Even more interesting was to see that Victoria’s Secret subscribers are ferocious consumers of travel information and travel deals, more so than subscribers of any other retailer we have analyzed so far.

How is this relevant? Well, it indicates that vacation-related scenery and marketing connections might be worth a test campaign at Victoria’s Secret based on travel affinity. Who knows? The Angels might just have more of an impact on their subscribers if they were shown at a beach or on a double-decker bus in London than on the typical runway. I might also recommend trying out sweepstakes that have travel or destination prizes.


The data set used for this blog post was generated from our system in December. The next exciting step will be to compare these numbers to current percentages in our tool that will be released later this month. Then, we can provide an update on how these numbers have changed in the post-holiday season, if at all.


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