image courtesy of stockphotos via pixabay.com
Truly, most of us are doing our best to respect others (which means wearing a mask), be courteous, and give each other room for the emotional ups and downs through which we’re all going.
That needs to extend to the marketing. It’s surprising how many businesses are either ignoring that everything has changed, or are pounding potential customers.
As several doctors have pointed out, the only thing “re-opening” means is that there’s now room for you in the hospital.
Too many businesses and customers are pretending nothing ever happened. They speak guidelines, they might even post them. But they are not following them or enforcing them.
When I enter a store and customers are unmasked, in violation of state directives, I turn and walk out. I cross that business off my list until sometime in the future, when I feel safe going into a place unmasked. Like when I’m vaccinated.
The business might not exist by then.
That’s the risk we both take.
I live in a place that depends on tourists far too much. I’ve said, for years, this area has the resources to be fully self-sufficient, using tourism for additional prosperity, but lacks the will so to do.
It’s telling, right now, that most places around here would rather put people in danger to grab $200 bucks or so, and then have to shut down again when large numbers of people sicken and die again, possibly never to reopen, instead of being smart upfront.
Life has changed. It will continue to change, as treatments and vaccines are created, and as new illnesses and events brought on by climate change and other factors continue to be a threat.
Life has changed.
Marketing has to change with it. Not twenty steps behind, but ahead of the curve.
I talked about it last week: As a consumer, I like to see some gentle humor, kindness, and clear information.
There were two companies (not local) with whom I was interested in doing business over the past few weeks. Both turned me off, possibly permanently.
Both claim to champion independent artisans in their field. The businesses are not the artisans directly; they curate artisans and then sell to consumers.
One of them had an ad for a specific set of items at a specific price. I thought it would be a good way to try the company, to see if I liked the quality of the products, the way the company worked, and if I could afford to do business with them on a regular basis.
I clicked on the ad, credit card in hand, ready for my first experience with them.
Which was negative.
First, I was taken to their website, where I had to read a looooooooooong introduction, and then take a quiz.
Then, I was told I would receive a voucher to apply – I’m not sure to what. The formula was so complicated I couldn’t figure it out.
There was no place to order the item that had drawn me to the website in the first place.
To me, that’s bait and switch. No, thanks. Bye.
I got a series of emails from the company with apologies and additional voucher somethings – none of which made any sense. I couldn’t figure out how or where to enter the voucher so I could order what I was interested in receiving from the company. I could see ads for what I wanted – but nothing ever led me to buy the product as advertised that I wanted.
I finally wrote back and said I was confused, and why was it so complicated.
In return, I got a lengthy email saying this is the way they did business. It didn’t answer any of my questions or tell me how to use the voucher or get the product I actually wanted to order.
Not doing business with them. I’m too tired, it’s too much math, and all I should have to do is click on the product in the ad and pay for it.
The quizzes, vouchers, and all the rest? That can come later.
To bait and switch, then overcommunicate in a sea of word salad that makes no sense and still doesn’t allow me to buy what attracted me to your site in the first place means I am not doing business with you.
I don’t trust you.
Second company: again, representing artisans. They had an offer of 50% off. I wanted to know what the entire price was, so I could figure out if the 50% off was something I wanted.
Only I couldn’t see any prices until I’d entered my email. Which annoyed me.
I entered my email, received a code, but when I saw the prices, I decided that it was out of my range for the moment. Plus, I had to commit to more than one purchase up front – 50% off the first purchase, two more purchases at full price.
My work could dry up at any moment. I’m not making that kind of commitment for non-essentials right now. I liked the product, and decided when I felt more financially secure in a few months, I’d like to try it. But right now, I couldn’t.
So I clicked off the site and that was that.
The barrage of emails began. Two within a few hours. “Where are you?” “Why haven’t you placed your order yet?” “You’ll miss out.”
No. I won’t miss out. I’ve decided not to buy the product.
Now that you’re nagging me, I’m knocking you off my list of companies with whom to do business in the future.
Both of these examples are marketing that failed me as a consumer. I am exhausted. I am working a lot of hours. Survival takes a lot of energy. There’s no such thing as running out to the store for something I forgot. Grocery shopping is a half day event, between standing in line, social distancing in the store, and disinfectant protocols when I come home. Things take longer, and they take more energy.
If you’re trying to convince me to part with dollars I’m already worried about, you need to make it easy. Keep the buying process as simple as possible. Let me buy what drew me to your site in the first place.
Because right now? As a consumer, I don’t have the time or patience to spend dollars on companies that harangue me.
As a marketing writer, I take what I feel as a consumer, what I hear on social media and in conversations with people, and I try to apply it.
How can I make the potential customer feel that this product is necessary? And that we value the time and money this customer put in researching and then buying the product?
With kindness, clear and simple communication, good products, and easy fulfilment.
Everyone is working as hard as they can, so the order might not go through in an instant, or arrive in two days. That’s fine. I don’t mind that.
But I mind twelve steps to get to a product instead of three, constant emails with a dissonant tone, and nagging.
What marketing techniques are turning you off right now? What’s working for you?