Sep 5, 2009

Does Your Company Make These Mistakes In Marketing?

The brand experience was ruined. After finally making a decision about getting a new mobile modem for my laptop, I went to the store determined to get the modem. I was hyped until the following happens.

It was 4 pm afternoon Tuesday. Most people seemed to be there coming straight from work like me. The store was full of customers, but half of the customer service stations were empty. A usual understaffed store. We were advised to take a number and wait. The store would be closing at 5 pm. I decided to stay and wait. No way buying a modem would take more than 20 minutes. At least that's what I thought.

55 minutes later

At 4.55 pm it was finally my turn. I was frustrated and thirsty after drinking too much coffee at work, and standing an hour in the small waiting area with a dozen other people (the water cooler in the store was from the early 90's and it didn't work). Behind the counter was a lady in her fifties.
I stated the name of the product I wanted to buy. After few seconds of hesitation, she gave an empty look and asked me to be little more precise. I asked if I could get the offer they'd been advertising on TV, online and print for months now. I mentioned that it was the same offer they have an ad on the street standing in front of their store at this very moment. It didn't help. She started to google according to my description.

"Is that it?"

Finally, she found the deal from her computer screen. "Is that it?" she asked from me. I told her yes. Then I asked whether I can have it right away with me. "Oh, no. You have to wait a couple of days to get it from mail." The only reason I came into the store rather than placed my order online was to get it right away. I told her I wanted it to get a wireless modem now. She offered me a cable modem which she told I could have right now. "Is it wireless?" I asked. "No" she responsed. After over an hour wasted in the store I said "Thank you and goodbye."

Where 100.000 can do the work of a million

When get your customer ready to buy, make sure you know want to do when that green light goes on. Anyone who has ever worked in sales knows how much effort it takes to close the sale. Don't ruin your chances at the finish line. In this case the mobile operator had spend millions of euros to advertising. But they didn't invest any money to the only experience that really matters - human contact. Their staff was poorly trained and the so called "flag store of the company" was working against itself. Did I say was? It still is.

Advertising - The mistake that most companies make

Advertising is just cosmetics if fundamentals are out of place. The fundamentals like customer service, number of staff and basic employee training. As much as you can blame the company you can also ask where was their advertising agency's focus? On cosmetics or fundamentals? Sure, one million makes bigger billings for the agency than getting 100.000 from unsexy staff trainings and workshops.

Bad PR will kill you

We have moved into the world where negative experiences spread faster than you can put out fires. The chances are you might actually piss off someone who is an influential like this guy.

Further reading:

Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Robert: "United Breaks Guitars"

The Huffington Post: " 'United Breaks Guitars' Did it Really Cost The Airline $ 180 Million?"

Mashable: "United Breaks Guitars Surpasses 3 million Views in 10 days"

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