Risky Business – Marketing Dissatisfaction by Peter Melby

From Peter Melby, President

A rant...

I don’t usually use this space to rant, but I’d like to share a recent experience.  As a growing organization with influence in how our clients use technology, we endure a constant barrage of sales tactics designed to get our attention and then hopefully our dollars (or our clients’ dollars).  There is a vendor who has been particularly… persistent despite requests to not be on their active sales list.  I do understand the traditional sales approach of repetition and volume and although I don’t like it, I can forgive it most of the time.

Last Tuesday I walked into the office to find a rather large box that was mailed to me from this vendor.  My name and address was handwritten and just inside there was a personal card.  More importantly, there was a remote control helicopter!  I ignored the cheesy headline about reaching for the sky because… it was a REMOTE CONTROL HELICOPTER.  I may be an adult now but I hope I never stop getting excited about fun toys, no matter how small.  Even though I still do not think this vendor’s product is worth our investment, I softened a bit in how I thought of them… for about 2 minutes.

I grabbed some of our team members who were in the office and we began putting it together.  “Who has the remote?”  We couldn’t find it.  I went through the trash to make sure I hadn’t thrown it away.  Instead I found the form letter I had missed informing me that they would love to send me the remote at a different time if I would be kind enough to make an appointment with them.  GRRRRR!

Remote not included... What?

I’m sure someone, somewhere is very proud of this marketing ploy and I’m sure that in some capacity it probably improved response numbers, but I would be curious to know if this actually improved their business and the impact they are having on the market.  The predominant feeling I will carry when I come across their name is frustration.  Even if I caved to the request and setup a meeting to get the remote, I’m still not playing with my helicopter for at least 2 more days during which I’d likely lose interest.  The fleeting excitement of a little bright spot on a stressful day was destroyed by a tricky ploy.

I’m a fan of open business.  We want to solve problems easily and quickly and transparently.  I can’t help but think it would leave a substantially better impression to find the list of other businesses who also got a helicopter and send them a remote no questions asked.  Tell them that if they have technology needs to remember us.  I bet they would and not because we made them mad and stole their fun.  We didn’t but I’m tempted.