think one of the travesties of today’s marketing is the special promotion designed to bait or attract new customers.
You know how the baiting method goes.
“Sign up to our service today and get 3 months service free”; or “If you switch from your current provider to our service we’ll give you a free TV”.
Marketers today will do almost anything to attract a new customer. For some reason new customer acquisition programs are “sexy”, fun to work on, and consume a substantial chunk of most marketing budgets.
There are two main issues I have with this bait marketing approach.
First, it’s lazy marketing. The easiest thing to do is to give stuff away with the mistaken belief that if you do, the recipient of the gift will somehow feel obligated to enter your loyalty tent and remain dutiful henceforth.
What a joke.
Despite the studies marketers trot out, people value what they pay for, and if they pay nothing to move from another supplier to you they laugh under their breath and wait for the next juvenile marketer who comes along and makes you a better offer. And when they find one, bye-bye.
Second, bait marketing is not only an insult to the loyal customers who have given themselves to your organization for years, it’s also intellectually dishonest.
Existing customers rarely qualify for the bait deal.
The free TV is NEVER offered to the customer who has been loyal for 5 or 10 years!
They have steadfastly paid their bill on time every month. They have put up with the odd price increase and policy change but their loyalty has been resolute.
And they have rarely been offered a deal on anything. They may have been thanked for their loyalty with words or an annual free calendar, but certainly nothing as substantial as the person being baited.
And when they discover that a special promotion is being offered to new customers and ask for the same deal they are told “I’m sorry you don’t qualify for this promotion”.
How do they feel? Second rate? Third rate? Don’t rate?
Reward or retention marketing may not be as sexy as its bait cousin, but special deals should be extended to existing customers FIRST!
Marketers will explain that it’s not done because it costs too much to reward every existing customer. And that it’s not necessary in any event as the chances of an existing customer moving to a competitor are low – after all people are generally reticent to change, right?
It’s nonsense of course. Sure, margins are reduced on the deal that is offered, but loyal buying behaviour is reinforced as is the propensity for loyal customers to refer you to others “with love” – with no bait acquisition costs!
And it may be true that a low percent of loyalists will switch suppliers.
But that’s not the point; rewarding loyalty is just the right thing to do isn’t it?
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