Loyalty Clubs, Personas and Email Marketing Tactics: How Nordstrom uses these elements together to create ideal customer oriented content.

Loyalty clubs, often in the form of: email lists, SMS “text message” notification opt-ins or even mailing lists are becoming more and more so ‘the norm’ for all big retailers. Personas can be a useful way for companies to visualize their typical customer and in response, attempt to reflect similar tones in marketing and promotional materials. 


The Nordy Club: An Example of Successful Persona Marketing

A great example of marketing by persona would be Nordstrom’s recently launched loyalty club which they coined “the Nordy Club.” The Nordy Club uses minimalist black and white designs with a simple cursive font (reflecting the elite nature of their infamously wealthy clientele accurately).

A typical Nordstrom customer and thus persona would be Carrie; Carrie is a wealthy, white, suburban stay-at-home mom, who values fashion and luxury. Carrie is married to a corporate lawyer who she has three children with. Carrie doesn’t mind paying MSRP and in fact prefers to spend more for designer items than the cheaper off-brand alternative.

People who shop at Nordstrom do so for the luxurious and elite nature of the store not value price; Nordstrom rarely offers promotions or sales and seldom marks items as clearance. In fact, Nordstrom has an entirely separate ‘off the rack’ (a term commonly used in a derogatory manner towards clothes from the previous season) store where they ship clearance items, Nordstrom Rack, which has an entirely different and separate customer base. Nordstrom has also been widely referred to as “Nordys” by cult followers of the exclusive retail department store, so by naming their loyalty program based on that group’s own denomination, they automatically appeal to that groups selfproclaimed identity. 


If you watch their promotional video for this club you will know exactly what I am talking about: https://shop.nordstrom.com/content/nordy-club.


This is what popped up on the SERP when I did a quick Google search for ‘Nordy Club’: 


Quick Tips: How To Use Your Buyer Persona to Tailor Your Email Ad Campaign

The Subject Line Is Everything

The subject line of an email is what will make or break a person’s inclination to open said email. It is essentially a hook to draw your customer in further. The subject line ultimately will determine the open rate of any given promotional/marketing email. Subject lines should reflect values/goals/interests of the persona to entice them to actually open the email instead of immediately marking it as read and deleting it.

Identification Words In Messaging

Brand voice or tone, which refers to the vernacular used in marketing communications, should be understandable and identifiable by the target audience persona. Many brands are using more casual language to appeal to their TA, whereas others may require more sophisticated language if that is reflective of the TA (i.e., products marketed towards business professionals rather than the everyday consumer). Following the example in the Nordy Club’s promotional video, Nordstrom used the phrases “exclusive services” and “our rewards program designed for you,” which directly reflects the values of their customers: exclusivity, elitism, luxury, quality. More broadly identification words also include words like “you”, “us”, “we” and various other pronouns that place the individual within the ad.

Selection of Visual Semantics

Personas can also be used to guide aspects of visual rhetoric in marketing, particularly in email marketing. Does your persona value minimalist design or bright colors? Nordstrom knew that their clientele would not attracted to bright colors so instead in their promotional video they used all black and white with gold detailing; this design oozes style, luxury and class– just like their customers. Whereas in contrast, Kim Kardashian’s beauty line KKW Beauty, uses fonts and designs within a palette of various shades of nude/taupe which is likely to appeal to her young, feminine, makeup-loving audience.

Creating Attractive Content

In addition, personas can be used to drive content creation. Consider the question: what kind of content is my ideal client profile going to value? For example, Nordstrom often sends out emails with a subject line saying “we think you’ll like this” when you click on the email you will find it full of linked products, this is like a virtual personal shopper of sorts (which is one of the services Nordstrom boasts). If Nordstrom’s ICP values the personal shopping service offered in-store this is a way for them to spin email promotion of new products tailored towards that customer segment. Whereas, a more utilitarian company like REI may focus email tactics on promoting popular hiking sites, the companies’ humanitarian efforts, etc., to provide content that is attractive to its progressive, outdoor-oriented audience.






Why Current Online Advertising Tactics Are Dangerous

How Private Information Has Become Publicized:

The nature of the internet makes everything that individuals do online essentially part of a public record. Everything that we do is tracked and stored into an informational database (usually through cookies). This is dangerous, because individuals have become prone targets to corporate online marketing efforts, where these efforts usually involve using stored ‘consumer’ data to best appeal to individual consumers.

For instance, consider a scenario where I click on an ad on Instagram, now I have become a ‘lead’ and the company that put out the ad will most certainly target me further (through ads) now that they know I have an interest in their product.

Or, perhaps I clicked on a site and their landing page requests personal information like an email address or a phone number, now that site has my information. This is dangerous because some sites have been known to even sell this information.

Online advertisers primary goal is to create customers through conversions and customers need to feel safe in order to engage with a site.

This begs the question: How can online advertisers maintain a level of ethics in their targeted marketing tactics?

A (basic) Moral Code For Online Marketers: 

  1. Do not sell your customers personal information– ever.

  2. For sites like Facebook, if you are tracking customers information, tell them what you are doing in your terms and conditions agreement and not in the fine print section.

  3. Instill heavy measures of protection to safeguard any consumer information your site may hold to avoid it falling into the wrong hands (i. e., hackers and criminals).

  4. Do not exaggerate product claims in an attempt to stand out online, usually it is pretty obvious and overall unattractive to the customer.

  5. Maintain a moral high ground and lead by example, your customers will be more trusting of your site if they feel safe using it.

How Dangerous Really Are Online Marketing Tactics?

Online advertising has created a dangerous environment for the consumer, from a scale of 1-10 I would say this danger is at a 10 because of our heavy reliance on technology, privatized information has become part of the public ‘technical’ sphere. What used to be done in person or over the phone has now all become integrated online which calls for a change in ethical practices. This is due to the ability to trace and track every action on a computer or site. In order to foster a positive and professional online consumer environment we must adapt and make changes in our ethical framework that underlies online marketing efforts.

Why Online Marketers Need To Change:

This is important for marketers to consider because consumers are becoming more savvy, especially in younger markets (which many online marketers are trying to tap into). Often, buyers are aware of aggressive advertising efforts and are turned off by them. If you want to appeal to the consumer base you need to be their friend not foe. Marketers create relationships with consumers, whether it be through email campaigns, loyalty clubs or even reviews put out by customers. Maintaining these relationships is critical in maintaining clientele and customers so you should seriously consider: are we ethical to our customers in our online marketing efforts? If not, consider implementing my suggested moral code for marketers as a starting step to creating a better business model.