Tag Archives: dumb marketing move

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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Rinse and Clean Your Mailing Lists – Dumb Marketing Move

This weeks Dumb Marketing Move goes to Exhibitor Magazine, but in reality reflects a growing problem in companies who use direct mail.

Recently, I received not one but two of the same magazine from them. At first, I thought they might have had two different names on it, maybe one for me and one for another employee. NOPE! They were both to me, to the same address but had slightly different company names.

This is a quality publication full of valuable information, but in these tough economic times they do a disservice to themselves and their advertisers. Why? A mailing list that is not cleaned up on a regular basis wastes money and reduces the quality of the audience advertisers are paying to reach. With employee turnover at an all time high and companies consolidating it is more important than ever to be sure one’s mailing list is clean. Not to do so is a …Dumb Marketing Move … and for that reason Exhibitor Magazine has been nominated to this “award.”

Lesson Learned: Although list clean up is a messy job, but it saves money, time, and it assures your message is getting to the right person and is being heard. Time to get cleaning!

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Customer Research and Database – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s dumb marketing move goes to Staples. They do a lot of good marketing but I think this one just isn’t that good.

They are constantly sending me savings coupons, which is a great thing right? Not really! I shop in-store and every single coupon is for online shopping.
Here’s what they sent me:

Hmmmmm….someone isn’t doing their homework. Most of my shopping from Staples is in the Copy and Print Center, so I have to go in and I CAN NOT use anything they send me. Thanks a lot Staples.

Lesson Learned: If you’re centering a campaign on your online sales, make sure your customers buy online. If you want to entice them to buy, make sure you state “for first time buyers” and don’t overkill the mailings, you’re just wasting your time! That also means you need to keep your database updated.

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Customer Service Can Sink Your Business – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to Holland America (cruises).

Most PR executives, and their marketing department, would be excited to get a full article in AARP’s magazine considering it has one of the largest circulations of any publication. But I don’t think there is joy being felt on the executive deck of the Holland American Cruise line. A recent article highlighted (link above) the travails of a couple that had a terrible experience. One that even the most inexperienced management team would have realized was wrong to have allowed it to happen.

They forgot the unwritten rule of customer service. When a problem arises go out of your way to provide great service to your customer they will tell dozens of people. Handle it atrociously and they will tell hundreds. In this case the amateur marketers at Holland America Cruises manage to have it exposed to millions, through AARP’s publication of this incident. Millions learned of their less than caring attitude towards the customer. The cost to them would have been far less if they had been empathetic, courteous, fair … and smart. So with ship horns blasting, we award them this month’s “Dumb Marketing Move” award. They went out of their way to earn it.

Lesson Learned: Never underestimate the reach, impact and overall effect of the quality of your customer service, be it positive or negative.

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Unhappy Employees Can Damage Your Business – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to FedEx.

I’m sure FedEx does a lot of good marketing, but they’re forgetting one important thing, their front line. Now that it’s getting hot again, I thought we should share this. Their drivers don’t have air conditioning in their trucks.

So at least ¼ of the year, if not more, their frontline employees are miserably hot, which can quickly translate into snappy people with the public or aggravated driving. They’re forgetting that satisfied employees, even if it is just their comfort level, are a powerful marketing tool that should not be ignored.

Lesson Learned: Your marketing plan should also include satisfaction of employees; they can turn off a customer, a loyal customer, or even a potential customer. Employees are now less loyal and if they aren’t happy your customers will hear about it, and if they are happy it will show and customers will love shopping at your store, or using your services.

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Use Coupons to Your Advantage, but Don’t Forget the Expiration Date – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to Speedy Lube.

It’s really for something simple, but that’s marketing.

“Marketing is all the exhilarating big things and all the troublesome little things that must be done in every nook and cranny of the entire organization.” – Theodore Levitt, The Marketing Mode 1969.

Speedy Lube did a great job; they placed their coupons on windshields of all the cars parked within 5 blocks of their shop. Great idea but after examining their coupon I noticed the expiration date, 12/31/2010. I got this in January of 2010. Coupons are handed out to generate sales quickly, and to also create brand awareness. With an entire year to use these coupons, I’m going to forget about it and never redeem this coupon, or worse, never visit the store or in this case the mechanics.

Lesson Learned: When creating a coupon, don’t overlook the expiration date. For a retail store, use a month for a good expiration date. For a mechanic, use a 3 month expiration date for savings on an oil change, since it is recommended to get one every three months. For the bigger repairs, think about a longer lead but the main thing is, get customers in the door. Also, think about the small items; offer something like $1 off of motor oil. Just don’t forget to create a sense of urgency!

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When the Customer isn’t Happy, Say Goodbye – Dumb Marketing Move

This week’s Dumb Marketing Move goes to Got Print.

Got Print is a printing company that someone had referred me to. We’re always looking for a new company with a better quality product, so I definitely wanted to try this company out. The person who referred us printed their business card there and I liked what I saw.

I went through my usual design and ordering process and received two emails; one saying my order was submitted and another saying it was approved and they didn’t rip us off for shipping. Reasonable all around.

Then the postcards, eventually, showed up. The printing process seemed long. When we opened the package, every single one of the postcards was warped. The postcards are representing us when we mail and hand them out. So I thought I would email the company and advise them of this, and also ask why this happened. Since all of our postcards are for events, we didn’t have time to reorder these cards.

I had to email them twice to finally get an answer. The answer we received was this is normal and there’s nothing we can do about this. Here is their full email:


We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please be advised that the bending you notice in the paper is normal and can sometimes occur. Please note that this is just the behavior of the paper and cannot be controlled. Note that this issue may occur once in a hundred orders.

If you wish we can provide you with a discount code. Please let us know how you would like to proceed by creating a new problem message under this order.

Once again we apologize if this issue is causing you any inconvenience.

If you have any further questions, please log into your account, click on the order status and create a new problem email.

Thank you,
Quality Control

Generic, no name at the end, just signed “Quality Control” and this answer did not help me, it left me scratching my head. They were nice in the email and they did offer me a discount, but I think the problem is bigger than a discount. I will never use this company again, and if it does happen every hundred orders, maybe there needs to be a change in equipment/card stock or something. I don’t know about the printing process but I’ve never had this issue with any other company.

If this is a reoccurring issue with a bend or warp in the card stock, isn’t that why you have quality control?

Lesson Learned: As an owner, you need to know what people are unhappy about, whether it is service or product. Otherwise, the problem will be constant and you will lose paying customers. I’m sure that this was not the owner that replied to me, because I feel like it would have been dealt with differently. Have a feedback system that you look at, it can simply be a survey after they receive their order like Next Day Flyers did and make sure there is follow up. Read Next Day Flyers Smart Marketing Move here. 

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