Marketing Insensitives for 2009

Approximately two years ago I first wrote about “Marketing Insensitives.” 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 is another:

I decided to start out 2009 by purchasing a new printer. My printer and I had had an aggravating and frustrating relationship for a number of months. You see, I could only get it to print by banging on it, hard. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to save my hand and buy a new printer.

Across the street is a very large chain store named after a very common office tool. One Sunday, early in the year, I crossed the street, entered the store and made a beeline to printers. I found the one I wanted and asked a clerk for help. He told me they were out of that particular model but could order it for me. I asked how long it would take to get the printer… I wanted it ASAP.

Marketing Insensitive #1: The clerk looked it up and told me he could order it and ship it to me and the printer would be delivered on a day that I would not be in my office. My building does not have a doorman so there would be no place to leave the package. The clerk suggested that I have it shipped to the store and then I could pick it up at my convenience. That was a good idea except that the printer would be too heavy for me to carry. I asked the clerk if someone could then carry it for me. The answer was “no.”

Marketing Insensitive #2: Understanding that I wanted the printer ASAP, the clerk looked more closely at his computer. He told me he’d made a mistake. It seems that if I ordered the printer on that Sunday, the day I was actually in the store, it would be delivered that Wed. If I came back the next day, on Monday, the printer could be delivered the very next day after that, on the Tuesday. (Does this make any sense to you? It didn’t to me either.)

Solution: I walked another block to another large chain store, Circuit City. They had the printer in stock. It was the same price. I bought it. Then a very nice clerk picked it up and walked it across the street for me.

Lesson Learned: If you make things too difficult for customers, they will not buy from you.

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