Selling is an art that drifts toward extremities.
When brands decide they must peddle certain wares for certain occasions, they paint their excitement with broad brushes.
Mother's Day is one of those times.
Over the last couple of weeks, I've had a lot of emails telling me to make my mom happy. It seems she'd be very happy if I bought her a new iPhone, a new Amazon Echo or a thousand other frightfully useful things.
It's a touch difficult to make her happy -- even with such exalted wares -- as she's dead.
Yet marketers don't seem to know whether or how to address such mundane realities. So they plow on with expected, relentless messages and spray them over everyone.
I was moved, therefore, to an odd rapture by a piece of email marketing from a yarn store.
Yes, it was sent to my wife rather than to me, but she forwarded it to me as she, too, found it moving.
The Cast Away Yarn Store in Santa Rosa, California, offered these words: "We know that Mother's Day means something different for everyone."
Just that first sentence tells you that the brand stopped to at least consider its customers. All its customers.
But the email continued: "If you're looking to treat your mom to something special, we would be happy to recommend quick patterns and gifts in the shop."
This seemed like fairly standard, moderately phrased messaging. But then true customer focus arrived: "If you are grieving or ignoring the day, perhaps we can help you find a little treat for yourself."
Someone sat down and truly considered all their customers and the potential ramification of Mother's Day for each of them.
Someone concocted a piece of marketing that will likely not only move those desperately in search of a Mother's Day gift for their moms but also those for whom Mother's Day represents meh, or even pain.
This is the rare occasion, I suspect, where everyone who reads this email will feel an additional pull toward the brand. Purely because of its thoughtfulness and the tone in which it expresses itself.
It's very, very hard to please everyone. Largely, it feels impossible. But this store, which brands itself as "The Biggest Little Yarn Shop Around," showed that it's possible to make everyone feel as if they're being heard, rather than herded.
How odd that a tiny little yarn store can do it while so many big brands -- and yes, quite a few in tech -- can't.