Local grocery retailer, Haggen, just completed a promotion built around Monopoly-branded game play. If my better-half is any indication, it is tremendously successful at making shopping fun and increasing visits. In short, when you shop you receive game pieces. These pieces are part coupon and part Monopoly game cards. So there’s an instant-win element as well as a ongoing game element. Collect the right combination of game cards as per the Monopoly game board layout and you can win life-changing prizes.
I spent several years selling computer bits and parts to companies across the US. This meant very unexciting orders of circuit boards, cables, adapters and such would be picked, boxed and shipped from our warehouse. The owner of the company had a great sense of humor and awareness of the customer experience. Long before I came on board, he had started to include a cheesy cheap plastic toy in every shipped order. It might be a plastic frog, an inflatable alien doll, a paddle-ball, etc. I think he looked forward to hearing that supply was running low because he could justify the time spent mulling over the latest Archie McPhee offerings.
This silliness helped center us in a company culture where no one was to take themselves too seriously. It also had a definite impact on the customers’ experience. First-time customers would call and thank me for the “gift” they found in their order. It was an unexpected surprise that got them out of their monotonous daily routine and made them smile. I had customers tell me that opening our packages had become a group event since in bigger orders they’d find several “gifts” and would battle over who got what. How many companies get their package arrivals announced on the customer’s company intercom?
We started realizing how important these trinkets had become and our faxed fliers, emails and mailers began referencing the “included with every order” item. Customers would ask us to confirm that they’d be getting a glow-in-the-dark skeleton with their order. Sometimes they’d complain that they never got the toys since their receiving dock staff would take them. I’d send those customers a package full of toys direct to their desk now and again. After all, they’re the ones choosing to do business with us, not the receiving dock staff.
All this from $0.75 cheesy toys included with orders costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
I can’t tell this story without mentioning the one time when the response was not quite so positive. After doing a fax broadcast that mentioned we would be including one of several types of African Dart Frogs with every order, we got a very nasty fax back. The response was due to the absence of mentioning these were plastic frogs and the fax recipient thought it was actually possible we would toss frogs, live and of endangered species, into boxes being sent to our customers. It was a very colorful and scathing retort to our offer. So, much time was spent on and several eyes reviewed our response, ensuring no opportunity for confusion could exist.
But we did get a good chuckle out of it all the same. I still do.
It’s been a busy day today. Prepping the house, yard and food for high school graduation celebration tomorrow as well as squeezing in a little mid-afternoon meeting.
But enough about me. This Fun Marketing Friday post is about a local company that is in an industry that, by any means of comparison, is usually considered as exciting as a popcorn fart. There are a lot of industries that could fit this description, banking, drywalling, collections, etc. But in this case, it is accounting. Continue reading “Fun Marketing Friday – June 17th”
“The marketing doom loop happens when you allow yourself to think that you do not need marketing when business is good and cannot afford marketing when business is bad.”
This adage has its cause rooted in fear. This can simply be a fear of making a mistake or even fear of success. I am complete empathetic to these feelings as I stake out on my own with Whatcom Marketing. So what is there to do about breaking free from the “deer in the headlights” or “doom loop” situations? Continue reading “Fixing the “Doom Loop””