Tag Archives: curmudgeon

Referral Programs, Think it Through First – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s dumbest marketing move goes to Netflix!

They’re a great company and have done some pretty good marketing, such as The Wizard of Oz anniversary where they allowed everyone to view the free stream of The Wizard of Oz on the day of the anniversary. But this one definitely takes the cake.
In the photo below, you can see that they are attempting to have a referral program. The only problem is you get nothing for referring your friends and family. Even if it’s a $1 off your subscription for a month. . .they literally give you nothing in return! Oh wait, there’s a circle that says “Thanks for sharing Netflix”.
So, I’m supposed to give out these handy FREE month’s subscriptions to my friends and family, which you can already get if you just go to their website?? What am I missing? From my understanding, you can’t even start a membership without having a free month. Sorry guys, you need to do better than that for me to want to share this. Three cheers for the dumbest marketing move!!
Lesson Learned: Don’t forget the “WIIFM” effect, “What’s in it for me?” Referral programs have a broader reach if you give a reward to loyal customers, who may eventually become brand advocates.
“Outthink the Competition Rather Than Outspend Them”

Author: Leslie Wolff, CEO of Smart Marketing Group, speaks from experience as an entrepreneur, sales and marketing executive plus advisor and coach. Les has “walked the walk and talked the talk.” The knowledge that he imparts with passion has been learned in the toughest of schools, “Real Life!”, in the trenches, on top of the mountain and everywhere in between.

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Gift Certificate Marketing, Don’t Forget the Follow Through – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to Mango Moon.

There’s a new craze for half off gift certificates for local companies. As a marketer, I think it is great because these small companies, whether they are a restaurant, a gym, or a retail store, can gain some major exposure by partnering up with websites like Groupon.com, and HalfOffDepot.com.

So why am I awarding Mango Moon Restaurant this award if they used one of these websites to gain exposure? It was in their follow through. Gift certificates are a way to get people in the door, but you can not forget the follow through.

I had friends of mine go to their restaurant and use all of the gift certificate except $4. And they didn’t give them the balance for a return visit, not $4 in cash; it should have been $4 to use at their restaurant for another visit. It could have been in the form of a business card someone fills out, or even just printed on their receipt. Sure, $4 might seem like they shouldn’t honor it, and plus they already ate for ½ price with the purchase of this gift certificate. But the kicker, Mango Moon could have had return customers with that $4, and they would have spent much more than that! As soon as my friends told me this last night, that’s when I realized I needed to tell everyone out there with a business. (Note: Have you had this experience? Tell us about it below!!)

They blew their chance! Since I wasn’t there, I don’t know if it was just a server that made this decision, but it should have been communicated to everyone on the staff to honor anything leftover on these certificates. The first step with Groupon, or Half Off Depot, is to gain a customer. They accomplished this. The second step, get them to come back! Isn’t that what you want with all of your customers? So, now did their ½ off gift certificate work to gain them business? I have to say NO, because they didn’t follow through on something small and seemingly insignificant.

Lesson Learned: The small stuff counts! Even though your customers are getting an amazing deal the first time around, and might be cutting into your costs, you have to think about the future. How much will your customers be worth the next time they visit, and the next time and the next time? Your customers, and potentially loyal customers, are sitting at a table in your restaurant. They are already there, waiting to be reeled in! Don’t let them get away.

And remember, as an owner you need to communicate to your staff what you are doing marketing wise, so that they will be able to follow through for you. Make them feel part of the team, and part of the life of the business.

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Fastest Way to Lose Business – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to 21st Century Insurance.

I have had insurance with 21st Century since I bought my car in 2008. I never had any claims, problems or anything in those years. So when I received a cancellation noticed, you could imagine my surprise.

I paid, in full, my current amount due but in two different installments. As far as I knew, everything was fine. It seemed to
send their system into a frenzy and I was the one to blame.

So I called. We know the person we initially talk to has a certain amount of power as far as making changes to accounts. But what I found out from talking her, who was friendly and helpful, was that my first payment – because of the billing cycle – was not applied to what I owed but it was applied to all of my monthly payments deducting each one by $20 and was considered an overpayment.

First of all, what? I owe money and you’re not applying it to what I currently owe? Second of all, why is this even an option?

As soon as I found out that she couldn’t help me, I asked for a manager. This manager listened to the problem and basically said that she couldn’t do anything to help me. I asked her a question, and she said, “I’m sorry we can’t do that because you’re in cancellation status.”

Remember, this cancellation status wasn’t my fault. I paid everything owed but in two installments, and that was apparently unacceptable. It wasn’t until I threatened to switch insurance companies that she was willing to contact the billing department and get this fixed. Needless to say, I ended up switching companies as soon as I was done talking to 21st Century and have saved $700 a year.

Lesson Learned: Customer service, scratch that – GOOD customer service, is the cheapest but most important aspect of business. If your customers are happy, they have no reason to shop around and possibly change companies, brands, or move their loyalty somewhere else! So the question is: what have you done today to make a customer happy? Did you smile? Say Hello? Make your customers feel welcome? Reassess how you and all of your employees look like from the outside. It might be a lot different than what you thought it was.

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