Sunday, March 10, 2013

Embarrassing Brand Manners

A few months ago, in a post titled "The Complaint Department," I shared an aggravating personal customer service experience I had.  

Basically, after purchasing a gift for my father, I discovered that I purchased the wrong item.  I mistakenly purchased a different variety because the picture didn't match the product listing.  In fact, it still doesn't.  I didn't notice this because I arrived at the page through a Google search that correctly found the wrong picture.

When I politely emailed the store looking for help with my dilemma, they neglected to ever reply, ensuring that I'll never buy anything from this hometown foods site again.

Naturally, I forgot about this experience until I pulled one of their direct marketing pieces from my mailbox this week.

Personally, I think it's poor marketing to automatically send consumers junk because they made prior purchases.  It's simply one of the dumbest marketing practices and certainly comes off as such in this particular case.  Similarly, I can recall instances of receiving marketing messages from a company for the first time shortly after applying for a job.    

Despite being poor marketing and discourteous behavior, why does it feel like companies helping themselves to a consumer's attention is standard operating procedure. 

I believe the disconnect relates to maintaining an ideology that "reach" is paramount, as is the case when attention is purchased with advertising.   However, these names aren't purchased (or at least they shouldn't be), they're earned.  Therefore, it's time marketers start treating them as such because abusing earned attention has consequences far greater than forgotten noise.  


Matthew Fenton said...

Hello Alexander -

Situations like those you describe are certainly frustrating... and, unfortunately, probably the way the world is going.

I, too, prefer when a company at least asks me if I want to opt-in, rather than assuming it's their right to contact me and forcing me to opt-out.

Of course, by the offending company's view, they've gained reach at an insanely cheap incremental price.

Part of the problem is the one-eye-blind approach to reach, as you point out. This is yet another instance in marketing in which the numbers alone don't tell the whole story, or can lead you down a bad path. Reach may help to drive awareness, but what about loyalty?

Better that marketers should focus not just on reach and frequency, but on the QUALITY of those touch-points. Are we truly serving and adding value, or are we just playing a cheap numbers game on the slim chance a sale will result?

Alexander Villeneuve said...


Thanks for reading and contributing with such great insight.

To your point, I think it's more more possible than ever to create those quality touch points with the technology available today. That said, technology is the tool, but marketers have to have the right mindset first.

Hope all is well with you.