I first wrote about “Marketing Insensitives” a few years ago. At the time, I had received a call from a telemarketer offering me some “marketing insensitives” to purchase a product. Yes, she really said this. She was not being clever; she just couldn’t pronounce “incentive.”But, Marketing Insensitives do exist. They are the unfortunate, not-thought-through, ridiculous, dumb things that businesses do that drive customers away. Here are two new Marketing Insensitives-both from the same company. Read on:
I’ve never had much interest in cooking. I’m one of those odd people who’s not that interested in food. I don’t think about it till I’m hungry and then I want something to eat. Living in NYC there are restaurants, take out, and delivery-all readily available. I have no need to cook.
Last fall I decided I wanted to lose a few pounds so I hired one of those “personal chef” food delivery services. You know the ones that are advertised on television, three meals and two snacks delivered to your door every day. I loved it. The food was good and I didn’t have to think about it.
In just a few weeks I lost the weight I wanted to lose but I was enjoying the convenience of the service so much I decided I wanted to keep it. I called and spoke with the owner, asking if I could sign up for several months, or six months, or even a year. He said, “no,” I could only sign up for 40 days at a time.
Marketing Insensitive #1: Making customers make buying decisions more frequently than they have to.
When you are selling, the status quo works against you. The prospect is used to whatever it is they already have in place. As a sales professional you have to work to get your prospect to take action to change. That can be difficult.
Once you have that customer, however, the status quo works in your favor. People tend to continue doing what they’ve been doing. So, if you have a customer who is happy, and you keep that customer happy, you’ll probably keep the customer. This is how continuity programs work. Once someone has signed up for a program, unless something changes, people tend to stay signed up.
This food delivery service forced a change every 40 days. By limiting the program to a 40-day maximum this business was forcing existing satisfied customers like me, who had no reason to make a change, to review, think about the program and the associated expense every 40 days. This probably cost them many customers.
Bottom line: Forcing a customer, every 40 days, to reconsider their buying decision increases the chances of losing that customer.
I continued with the food delivery service for almost eight months. Then one day I saw an ad in a magazine. My food delivery service was offering new customers five full free days of food when they enrolled. Once again I got on the phone and called the owner. I told him I’d seen the ad and as a good customer for the past eight months I felt that I should also be getting the five free days. He said, “no,” the free days were only for new customers. So I quit.
Marketing Insensitive #2: Taking better care of new customers than of existing customers.
It is far easier and more cost effective to keep existing customers and to sell more to them than it is to go out and find new ones. This is a mistake business owners make all of the time. They focus all of their time, energy and promotions on new customers while ignoring existing customers who are already generating revenue for them.
Bottom line: Ignoring existing customers can negatively impact your bottom line.
This is a sad story, as are all Marketing Insensitives. Generally they happen out of carelessness and/or simply not thinking things through. Marketing Insensitives are, however, easy to overcome – simply put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Ask yourself how you would react to your own policies and procedures if you were the customer, and act accordingly.
© 2008 Wendy Weiss