Dear Lite ‘n Easy,
Firstly, I want to let you know that I am a happy customer. I have been using Lite ‘n Easy now for the past few months and have not had a single negative experience. Well, there could be less peas in everything but that’s personal taste!
However, I need to talk to you about the email that you sent this morning.
Look, I know it’s January 1st, and that marketing opportunity is too good to resist. New year, people are wanting to make changes and face things fresh. I understand the email going out today. But what I take issue with are the following assumptions in the email:
- That your customers must want to lose weight.
- That all of your customers use Lite ‘n Easy as a weight loss aid.
- The lack of sensitivity towards any customers who may be using your meal plans to help deal with an eating disorder.
- That your customers *have* lost weight while using your service.
- That somehow losing weight is going to be one of the things, or enable me to do things “that I love”.
Before I continue on, as a little background, I want to explain why I decided to become a Lite ‘n Easy customer again a few months ago. Many years ago, when I was still chasing the myth of weight loss, I tried Lite ‘n Easy. I loved it. The food was fantastic quality, and there was more of it than I could eat. I saved money. I saved time. But despite loving it, I was miserable. Why? Because I didn’t lose any weight. Actually I lost a little bit at first, but then, like every other time I had tried to lose weight, it crept back on. I blamed myself. I blamed you. I did everything but blame the myth of weight loss. So I stopped using Lite ‘n Easy, and went back to the severe restriction and purging eating disorder I had been nurturing since I was 13.
Now fast forward to a few months ago. I have realised that my worth does not lie in my weight (or lack of it). I have stopped putting my life on hold until I am thin. I have filled my life with the things that are important, and I’ve been in recovery from my eating disorder for almost 6 years. I am a fat woman, but I now understand that the size and shape of my body bears no relevance on the quality of my life.
However, one of the problems with living life to the fullest for me is that I’m not very good at eating competently. I can thank a society that tells women we must be thin to be worthy and 25+ years of a very fraught relationship with food for that. I’m working hard and playing hard, it’s awesome. But I’m not eating enough. I’m skipping breakfast and finding myself ravenous by lunch, and then at night too tired to eat anything for dinner more than a bit of toast. I’m struggling with those old eating disorder demons again. I’m getting more and more run down and my energy levels are disappearing. Then I see a woman at work eating a Lite ‘n Easy lunch, and I remember how much I liked it, how convenient it was and how it was good for me to have all my daily meals all laid out for me and how much money I saved in the long term.
So I make the decision to start using Lite ‘n Easy again, and I’ve not regretted it at all. The food is excellent. There is far more of it than I can eat, so much that over the Christmas week while I am busy socialising, I can just skip a week of Lite ‘n Easy and there are still plenty of meals for me left to cover those times I’m not out socialising.
I get that half of your brief is “Lite”. I’m not going to tell you to let go of that. It clearly works for you, though I personally believe that you lose a lot of customers who either don’t lose weight while using your products and services, or who aren’t interested in losing weight. However it has been your business name for a long time, and has a lot of goodwill attached to it. I can understand you not wanting to let go of that. I don’t have a problem with that side of your business if you keep it out of my inbox.
Now, you can see I am very happy with your product and service. But back to my points above as to why your email was unwelcome and frankly offensive.
- I understand that some people still believe in the myth of weight loss. I understand that is part of your marketing but you keep it pretty low key on your website, so I don’t have to see it when I place my orders. However, when it arrives in my inbox unsolicited, I am not happy. I don’t want to see weight loss propaganda. I can opt out of seeing it until you start pushing it in my inbox.
- As I mentioned before, I don’t use Lite ‘n Easy as a weight loss aid. I use it as a convenience, a money saver, and because I feel healthier and have more energy when I eat a balanced diet. I am still the same weight as I was when I started a couple of months ago. I will no doubt be the same weight in a year from now. That’s OK, I am happy with who I am. But I don’t like the presumption that I must want to lose weight if I use your product/services.
- You can’t know how many of your customers are dealing with eating disorders or are in recovery. Your product and service is exceptionally good for helping those recovering from eating disorders eat competently. How about thinking about how you might be able to market your product to help people like myself, rather than sending us material that is deeply triggering.
- Never lost an ounce. Still think your product and service is fantastic. Not likely to lose an ounce in future. Still happy to stay your customer. When I believed in the myth of weight loss, I stopped purchasing your product because I believed it, and I had failed.
- I can already do everything that I love. And those things I can’t do, weight loss isn’t going to help me do them. In fact, chasing weight loss prevents me from trying. I’ve done so much more with my life in the past 5 years than I did in all the years I was chasing weight loss. Consider I started dieting when I was 11. How many things did I not do because I believed I couldn’t do the things I love unless I was thin?
Where do we go to from here? Well, I’d like to see you cease sending weight loss propaganda to your customers unsolicited. That doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t send marketing – I do know how business works. But I think you could bring yourself FAR more customers, and keep them, if you let go of the weight loss brief and focus on the things that you do really well at Lite ‘n Easy. How about these for points to focus on:
- Busy life? Let us do the work and bring you delicious, nutritious meals to your door.
- Do the things you love and let us take care of the meal planning, shopping and food preparation.
- Eat delicious! Eat healthy! Eat variety! Eat conveniently!
- Show people your food. It tastes delicious and looks great. I mean look at this screen grab from your email – yum!
- This sentence from your email is excellent – “You can enjoy all the taste, convenience and health benefits again in 2014.”
- Show some diverse people (other than white, thin people) enjoying life. Being active, happy and having fun. This is aspirational. This makes me want a product. Not “look at some thin people, don’t you want to be thin like them?” Even if I did believe in weight loss, not being represented in marketing is not something that makes me feel good about a product.
- “Simply Eat Well” – this is a brilliant slogan. Keep it. Focus on it. Use it everywhere. That’s why I use your product/service – I want to simply eat well.
To all of you at Lite ‘n Easy – especially the marketing team – you have a great product and your service is excellent. Don’t ruin it by choosing poor marketing methods.